The game was basically over 1:21 into it. Kris Letang scored off a Sidney Crosby pass to put the Pens up 1-0. Buffalo, a team that blew a 2-1 lead last night to Edmonton, just never looked like their heart was into playing a game tonight. Much less playing a game against a team that has the pure firepower that the Pens have.
As if there was any doubt, and there wasn't any really, Patric Hornqvist tipped in a Letang shot on the PP two minutes later, and just 3:31 into the game. At this point it's 2-0 and the Sabres wouldn't record a shot on goal for three more minutes. That pretty much captures how uncompetitive the game was. In today's NHL with parity and a salary cap and even disbursement of talent there are very few times that a team just can't measure up on any given night. Buffalo sure is an exception to the rule, though, as they look to strip down their team and build up in the future after their Dishonor for Connor. Hey, we've all been there.
Later in the first period, a 3rd goal would come off the stick of Letang (2 for Kris, the middle one being tipped) just for fun. 3-0.
In the second period, Patric Hornqvist scored a goal on the power play after a nice tic-tac-toe passing play from Crosby to Chris Kunitz who fed Hornqvist in the slot for a quick shot. The goal was almost identical to one Hornqvist scored on poor Jonas Enroth and the Sabres last week. They didn't stop it then, they couldn't tonight, and chances are next game these two play it'll be there again.4-0.
Later in the second, Crosby hit a trailing Robert Bortuzzo who was wide open and pushed into the net. Bortuzzo dangled around a falling Sabre, kept holding the puck to change the angle of Enroth and then fired it into the net. Yep, Bortuzzo a player with almost no offensive ability or chance to step up, stepped up and looked like an All-star. Enroth would stay down for a long time after this goal, almost seeming to wonder if he could just melt away into the ice or disappear anywhere else. Sadly for him, the game was only 34 minutes old.
About the only suspense was ended a few minutes later. Marc-Andre Fleury, who somehow did not fall asleep despite seeing only 12 shots in the first 40 minutes, was beaten by Zemgus Girgensons to end MAF's bid for 2 shutouts in as many Saturdays against the old Sabes.
Evgeni Malkin must have taken offense to this, he scored an even strength goal (!!) to close the scoring in the last minute of the second period. The Pens would skate away with a 6-1 win and probably didn't break much of a sweat in doing so.
- Winning streak is up to 7. All is right with the world. Yeah, not against the toughest of competition, but this was the third straight road game and the Pens at least took care of business.
- 5 assists ties a career high for Crosby. The Penguins record for a single game is 7, surprisingly not set by Mario Lemieux. Maybe next time, Sid!
- Smooth move by the Pens to put Zach Sill out with Malkin late in the game to try and get the 4th liner his first career point in game #33. No dice though.
- Only three shifts and 1:24 total time played for Steve Downie after a second period fight. Downie's been flying off the handle lately, keeping him on the bench was probably a wise move.
- Beast game for Letang. Yeah the 2 goals and 2 assists were nice, and he's showing a lot of confidence with the puck and he led the team in ice time (23:44) as usual but it was his skating displays that really stood out. Sailing back to break up a centering pass when Buffalo thought they had a 2on1 is a good example. Impressive stuff from the Pens #1 defenseman.
- The Penguins attempted 54 shots. Buffalo managed to block a grand total of 3 of them, officially. (And one of those was by offensive winger Matt Moulson, which I'm guessing was a mistake). Remember above when I said it looked like the guys in blue jerseys didn't want to be out there?
- Pittsburgh, on the other hand, blocked 10 out of the 40 attempted shots that the Sabres took. 4 by Simon Despres and 2 by Rob Scuderi, the pairing least likely to have the puck, which makes sense.
- The Sabres did manage to kill off 38 seconds of a Penguins 5on3 power play. That's gotta be worth something.
- Pens PK keeps on rolling, killing all 3 times tonight.
- Gotta feel bad for Jonas Enroth. And Ted Nolan. And anyone else that actually bothered spending money to show up to this game that wanted to see Buffalo. They deserved better, but they're probably not going to get it this season.
Win is a win is a win. They all count the same and they certainly won't ever be this easy again. The Pens now get two days off before playing the Rangers in Manhattan on Tuesday night.