The first two periods were a joke for the Penguins, while the Sabres carried the play for the most part. Besides the effort of Matt Cooke and Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins looked somewhat lazy.
Buffalo opened the scoring at 8:14 of the first when Jason "Let's-Take-A-Trip-To" Pominville banged home a rebound on the power play. This made it a 1-0 Sabres game.
Ryan Miller took a cab to Primanti's and picked up a sandwich with extra coleslaw while seeing just six shots from the Pens in the first period.
The Pens had two powerplays in the period, but failed to amass anything that resembled offense. The Sabres have allowed just one powerplay goal on the road before tonight, and after watching their penalty kill, you can easily see why.
Drew Stafford took an elbowing penalty at 10:02 of the second to send the Penguins on their third powerplay of the night.
Malkin extended his points streak to 13 games when his slap shot trickled past Miller to even the score at one.
The Sabres responded eight minutes later when Thomas Vanek put the Sabres up 2-1 with under a minute to play in the period.
That Primanti's sandwich caught up with Miller in the third period, as the Pens rattled off four goals on just nine shots.
The Sabres held their ground for the first 11 minutes of the period, but a Penguin powerplay at 10:31 opened the flood gates.
Malkin slid the puck from the point to Sidney Crosby on the half wall. Alex Goligoski called Ryan Whitney and got permission to use his patented back door play. Gogo went back door, Sid found him, Gogo buried it. 2-2 tie.
"Nothing special about that pass, eh Semin?"
Four minutes later Jordan Staal proved that his last two games were no fluke.
The best line in hockey hit the ice and Tyler Kennedy found Matt Cooke who then found Staal in the slot. Staal wristed the shot past Miller to give the Pens their first lead of the game.
First 11 games: 0 goals. Last six games: 7 goals
One lead was all they needed.
The newly coined "European Line" cashed in on a sick play set up by, who else, Malkin. Petr Sykora fed an outlet pass to Malkin who soared down the left wing with more patience your grandmother would ever have, while knitting you another Christmas sweater.
Malkin looked off the defense and found Ruslan Fedotenko behind the play. Tank wristed the puck past Miller to extend the Penguins' lead to 4-2.
Buffalo pulled Miller with about a minute to play, which meant it was time for Malkin to pick up another point.
Sykora scooped up a loose puck and sailed an air-born pass to Malkin. Gino knocked the puck out of midair and sailed a cross-ice pass to Staal, all in one motion. Staal dumped the puck into the gaping cage to, once again put the icing on the comeback cake.
Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has just left the building.
Final Score: Pittsburgh 5 Buffalo 2
The officiating was horrendous tonight. Both teams were victims of some terrible calls. But, with the Devorski Brothers on the crew, what did you really expect?
- Matt Cooke > Jarkko Ruutu
Six Hits, 0 Suspensions
Malkin's 13 game point streak is the longest active streak in the NHL. Within the streak, he has had a 13 game assist streak going as well. Who's the only Penguin with a longer assist streak? It's none other than Pitsburgh legend Mario Lemieux, whose streak was held for 14 games. Tune in on Tuesday, Le Magnifique.
Buffalo hasn't won a game at Mellon Arena since December 16, 2005.
The Pens are now 2-0 in the powder blue jerseys, with both wins coming against Buffalo. They mentioned on the post-game show that the Pens might wear the third jerseys again on Tuesday. I'll be at the Mellon on Tuesday and Saturday next week, so I'd like to see it happen.
Mark Eaton turned in another lackluster effort tonight. Something isn't clicking with Eats this season, and with Whitney on the mend, Eaton may be on his way out.
Fedotenko has scored some big goals lately. He's a guy that needs to play with a gifted centermen to be effective, and they don't make 'em any more gifted than Malkin.
Malkin took over the NHL points lead with a four point effort tonight. He has 30 points, three better than Alex Semin.
Darryl Sydor joined Steiggy and Bob in the booth during the second period. Steiggy was pissed because he couldn't talk as much.
The Pens host the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night at 7:08 PM.
Let's Go Pens.