The Penguins' recent 4-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres is a prime example of the cliche player statement of "a few bounces going our way."
If the first period was to be the preview for the remainder of the game, then the Penguins were on the verge of being completely and utterly outplayed. Try as they may, the Penguins couldn't clear the puck from their zone. By the end of the period the score stood at a scoreless tie, but the Sabres' shots outnumbered that of the Penguins by the tally of 17-6.
Coming into the second period, the boards were rattling, players were blocking shots and the bounces started to come. Ruutu found himself in the box for hooking nearly five minutes into the period, but would soon find himself notching his first goal of the season. Busting out of the penalty box, Ruutu caught the long feed from Malone and was left one-on-one with Miller. Treating it like one of the many shootout goals of this season, Ruutu gave it the ol leg kick backhand shot to put the Pens up 1-0.
Exactly two minutes later Sykora added another with a bouncing puck goal from a blocked Malkin shot. You almost felt bad for Miller on this one. Almost.
In the third period Malkin would extend his goal streak to five games with a poke check on a loose puck in front of the net, simultaneously extending his point-or-more streak to 19 points in eight games.
From thereon in, it was all the Pens. Colby Armstrong finally made himself useful with the empty netter - not that it was really all that necessary. Either way it was the least he could do, seeing as how the only Buffalo goal came on the power play thanks in part to an Armstrong penalty.
Thankfully Ty Conklin was on top of his game today. The Pens allowed 37 shots through three periods and Conk stopped all but one. You can't even say he made it look easy.
The Pens are once again tied for first in the Atlantic with the Devils. Not bad for a team rumored to be "done for" when Sid went down. Speaking of, reports say that if all goes well and Sid continues to skate the way he's been skating in practice, he may very well be back in the lineup as soon as Tuesday.
Gary Roberts is also expected back within the span of 1-2 weeks.
If the Pens have played this good without the key guys like Sid and Gary, then the rest of the league better watch out when they come back around with a healthy lineup.
Pens vs Panthers Tuesday.