It was an NHL game, but there was really only 1 team close to being NHL caliber so I'm not sure how much we can really take out of this.
Regardless, it counts in the standings just the same as any other game, and the Pittsburgh Penguins didn't drop their guard and take it lightly, so kudos to them.
Marc-Andre Fleury recorded his very first back-to-back shutouts tonight, making only 18 saves, but staying sharp enough to do so en route to a 5-0 Pens win.
The eventual game winner came about 5 minutes into the game. Sidney Crosby drove to the net and the puck kicked out to a trailing Patric Hornqvist. Old Horny swatted it on net but Jhonas Enroth (bless his heart) made a save. Unfortunately for poor Enroth the puck was laying on a platter for Chris Kunitz to bat in his 6th goal of the season.
That would be all the scoring for the first period, though shots would be 12-3 in favor of the Pens, and it wouldn't even be as close as that makes it seem, with Pittsburgh basically owning the puck all period long.
The second goal would come when Evgeni Malkin would make a nice play to Blake Comeau for a goal after a nice shot by Comeau. Shortly thereafter the Pens would end any thoughts of a comeback on the power play, with Malkin passing to Kunitz who quickly fed Hornqvist for a nice shot and goal, in a sequence where all 5 players touched the puck in a few-second span.
They have to play out the full 60 minutes though, so in the 3rd, again on the power play Kunitz deflected in a Kris Letang point shot to make it 4-0. Later, just for shits and giggles, basically, Malkin scored on the power play.
Fleury would hold on tight down the stretch to salt away his shutout. And that would be that.
A few more quick thoughts on the game:
- Crosby now has points in 18 straight games against Buffalo, dating back to 12/29/2007. Ridiculous, but that's Sid for you. 3 assists on the night to push his NHL leading point total to 18. Who would expect less?
- Malkin's 1 goal, 2 assists extended his point streak to 10 games. Not bad considering the Penguins have only played 10 games this year. Tune in next week to the Nark Nadden show to discuss how Geno isn't buying in to the system and how Newcastle United beat Liverpool. (sad trombone)
- Malkin also won 10 of 12 faceoffs. Crosby only 6 of 16. Sign of the Apocalypse?
- After being called out by assistant coach Rick Tocchet that he didn't shoot enough, Kris Letang had 7 shots on goal. Not bad.
- Crosby ties Martin Straka for 10th all-time in franchise history for total games played. Which is kind of sad, but hey, that's time moving on for you.
- Fleury's stopped 95 of the last 98 shots he's seen. That's good.
- This was the last game before a road trip, and the last game for Olli Maatta for now. Godspeed, Olli.
- The penalty kill is up to 26 straight, over the past 7 games.
A win is a win is a win, even if it is only against the lowly Sabres. You take 'em any way you can get 'em. Go Pens.