Stop the presses! The lowly Buffalo Sabres have ended the Pittsburgh Penguins streak at 15 games, just two short of tying the all-time record of 17 games by the ’92-93 Penguins. Many believed that the record would be broken considering the next handful of games for the Penguins were against opponents with less-than-stellar records; the Sabres included.
Buffalo entered tonight’s matchup just 5 points out of 8th place in the Eastern Conference, however there were also 5 teams between them and the 8th spot. The Penguins started the game 1st in the East. The title obviously spoils the surprise and this pretty much sums up the evening.
— Buffalo Sabres Stats (@SabresStats) April 3, 2013
The game started out in usual Sabres style. The boys in white and gold were unable to clear the puck (big surprise) and gave up some careless penalties. Halfway into the first period, Kevin Porter opened up the scoring with a shorthanded goal, his first in a Sabres uniform. Great news, right? Not so fast. Mike Weber got tagged with a double minor for boarding and just as the Sabres were about to come out of this predicament unscathed, Jarome Iginla tied it up with his first goal at as a Pittsburgh Penguin. He was set up by Kris Kunitz and Evgeni Malkin as the Penguins crashed the net. With two minutes left in the first period, Steve Ott blasted a slapshot by the Penguins netminder to put the Sabres up 2-1.
Something happened during the 1st intermission, because the Sabres started the 2nd period on a mission. That mission was simple: end the streak. Cody Hodgson put away a beautiful wrap-around puck which Tomas Vokoun had no chance of stopping after being tied up by his own player. Just one minute later, Porter put away his second of the night. Go figure, Buffalo’s third line was proving to be problematic for Pittsburgh. That would be all for Vokoun, who was pulled in favor of Fleury. Down 4-1, the Penguins’ hopes at making history were slowly fading. Pittsburgh was unable to generate much offense through the remainder of the second period. The Penguins were whistled for three consecutive penalties as their frustration got the best of them. The horn blew to end the 2nd period and Buffalo could taste it.
Sabres are 5-0-4 when leading after the 2nd; Penguins are 4-6-0 when trailing after 40 minutes.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) April 3, 2013
The third period was uneventful and for the Buffalo faithful, that was all we could ask for. Patrick Kaleta did a good job of drawing penalties to keep the Penguins on their heels. And although Cody Hodgson was tagged with a hooking penalty with five minutes left, at this point it was too little, too late for once hopeful Penguins.
The Penguins streak ends at 15. What. A. Run.
— ESPN (@espn) April 3, 2013
Record setting streaks always seem to be upended by teams that should have no shot at the upset. The Buffalo Sabres played a great game tonight. Believe it or not, the Sabres are still in the hunt. Even after dumping a few key defensive players before tomorrow’s deadline, Buffalo’s performance tonight should cause for concern for teams vying for that eighth and final playoff spot. Following an upset such as this, a few people see this as an opportunity for Buffalo and I don’t blame them!
Can’t help but be impressed by #Sabres‘ game at PIT. My reaction: Sell Darcy Sell.
— Mike Harrington (@BNHarrington) April 3, 2013
Regardless of what GM Darcey Regier has up his sleeve, the Penguins will have to settle with a tie for the second longest winning streak in NHL history.