Tonight, the Buffalo Sabres take on the Pittsburgh Penguins for the third and final time this season. Good riddance – they’re too good for the Sabres!
Tonight’s Opponent: The Pittsburgh Penguins
Record: 39-15-2, 80 pts.
Standings: First in Easstern Conference
Current Streak: Won one
Right about now, the number one seed in the Eastern Conference is Pittsburgh’s to win or lose. Their 80 points are five better than the Boston Bruins‘, and the Penguins have an 11 point cushion over the third-place Tampa Bay Lightning. It seems like whenever I check the standings for this team, they are always 7-2-1 , or something like that, over their last ten games.
The fact that this team really doesn’t go into prolonged slumps make sense, since Pittsburgh has the fourth-best offense, the sixth-stingiest defense, and five of the top 50 scorers in the NHL. (Jussi Jokinen currently is ranked 52nd, so conceivably the Pens could have six in the top 50 soon.)
Dammit, I hate this team!
Of course, as super-reader Dano likes to point out, the Penguins are not really in their element when the opposing team gets a physical and nasty. Oh sure, they like to TRY and play physical, but the results – a complete meltdown in the playoffs against the Flyers a few years back, and out-of-character play and exit against the Bruins in last year’s playoffs – speak the truth.
Now, I’m not asking for the Sabres to go out and hurt anyone . . . actually maybe I am! Either way, we all know what to expect from this team. Hopefully, Ryan Miller can hold them in check for the second straight game.