Jan 27, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Phil Varone (84) and Pittsburgh Penguins center Brandon Sutter (16) fight for a loose puck during the first period at Consol Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Three Stars: Buffalo Sabres vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

The Buffalo Sabres fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 tonight. Although the end result wasn’t ideal, there were a few players who stood out tonight for the Sabres in the loss.

3. Phil Varone – In just the third NHL game of his career, Varone has been noticeable by fans and media alike. Many people on Twitter said that they could see him sticking around with the Sabres for the rest of the season. He had an assist in his first NHL game last Thursday and has played over 10 minutes in each game. Tonight, Varone had two shots and two hits and was 33% in the faceoff circle. He had 16 shifts for a total of 11:25 ice time – all even-strength.

2. Marcus Foligno – Foligno had one shot and a team-high six hits (tied with Zemgus Girgensons) in tonight’s game against the Pens. Foligno also had one blocke shot and played 15:56 total, including nearly three minutes of powerplay time and 22 seconds of shorthanded time.

1. Brian Flynn – In case you hadn’t already figured it out, yes, I am giving all three stars to a single Sabres line after tonight’s game. The line of Flynn-Varone-Foligno was arguably the best of the four lines that the Sabres rolled during tonight’s game. Flynn had three shots and two hits, plus one blocked shot. He played 13:26, including 1:06 shorthanded.

This line has had some great chemistry over the past three games, likely due in part to chemistry they built up together during their time with the AHL’s Rochester Americans. They’re three young players with varying degrees of NHL experience, but at the bottom line, they’re willing to work hard and try to get it done.

Although no one ended up on the scoresheet tonight for the Sabres, Varone, Foligno and Flynn had some good chances and solid play, and for that, I’ll give them the three stars of the night.

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