The Pittsburgh Penguins came alive and fired five straight goals past the helpless (and largely without help) Ryan Miller to beat Buffalo 5-1.
Drew Stafford for the Sabres would open the scoring in the first period, after Marc-Andre Fleury panicked playing the puck behind his net and it ended up in the Pens net. From there though, it'd be all Pittsburgh. Harry Zolnierczyk did well to come back from a Steve Ott hit to open scoring for Pittsburgh.
Then Sidney Crosby went and did this.
Hopefully didn't give Miller flashbacks of Vancouver 2010 just a few days before everyone heads to Sochi.
Then, not to be outdone, Evgeni Malkin generated a beautiful, breakaway goal of his own, blowing by Jamie McBain and burying one forehand on Miller to make it 3-1.
Early in the third period, Brian Gibbons took a faceoff that Brandon Sutter won cleanly and fired it by Miller to make it 4-1. Just to top it all off, James Neal received a patented Malkin drop pass and fired it by Miller for 5-1.
A few more thoughts on the game:
- The Pens outshot Buffalo 34-25 on the night. Every Pittsburgh player except defenseman Robert Bortuzzo had a shot attempt. Nine Pens had at least two shots on goal.
- Interesting turn of events when Ott hit Zolnierczyk in the first period. Deryk Engelland saw it, didn't like it and got in Ott's face. Ott turned Engo down, but it wasn't soon after that Buffalo goon John Scott gave Engelland a house call, which he gamely didn't refuse. "When you have a bigger, tougher teammate to get your back after you did something that offended someone", just reason 1,453 that "the code" doesn't work and is outdated.
- Aside from the one miscue, a very strong game for Fleury who stopped 24 of 25 shots for his league leading 31st win.
- Dueling breakaway second period goals by each of the superstar centers. As if Malkin saw Crosby's goal and wouldn't be out-shined. Too close to the Olympics for that.
- First game after the respected Mike Colligan wrote about his decline and Brooks Orpik put a season high 4 shots on goal, was a +2, had an assist, had a takeaway, a blocked shot and led the team with 5 hits.
- Interesting that Orpik (18:55), Paul Martin (19:16), Matt Niskanen (18:56) and Olli Maatta (18:50) all had about the same even-strength time on ice. Rob Scuderi (15:02) and Bortuzzo (14:36) lagged far behind.
- Pittsburgh out-scored Buffalo 12-2 on aggregate this season in the three games they played. Sadly, for the Pens, tonight will be the last matchup of the year.
One more game off until the Olympic break. If only they all came as easy as tonight.