When: 7:00 p.m. eastern
How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet in Pittsburgh, MSG-B in New York
Opponent Track: Make it now a nine game win-less skid for Buffalo (0-7-2), being outscored 37-17 during this stretch. The road ahead isn’t much easier, Buffalo hosts the Capitals on Monday before making a road trip to New Jersey next Tuesday. They then return home for games next Thursday and Saturday against Boston.
Pens path ahead: After tonight in Buffalo, the Pens go back home for a back-to-back next Monday and Tuesday against the Boston Bruins. Then the Pens will go on the road for their first games against the Devils, playing in New Jersey both next Thursday and Saturday.
Season Series: The Pens took game one by the score of 5-2 on Thursday. The Sabres head to Pittsburgh in a few weeks for back-to-back games on March 24+25. The Pens return to Buffalo on April 17+18 in another b-2-b set. Then, to cap it off, the final two games of the season on May 6+8 will be in Pittsburgh — in what very well could be two games the Pens need to win in order to get into the playoffs.
Recent History: The Pens have been good for a while, and the Sabres have not. Their matchups reflect that. Pittsburgh has points in 20 of its last 22 games against Buffalo (17-2-3) dating back to October 5, 2013. During that span, the Penguins have outscored the Sabres by a 83-44 margin. Overall the Pens are 11-0-2 in the last 13 games they’ve played in Buffalo.
SBN Team Counterpart: Check out Die by the Blade for the latest news to know about the Sabres.
Player Stats at a Glance
—One of the biggest ‘what could have beens’ this off-season for the Sabres is definitely going to be about the health of Linus Ullmark. He’s a pretty good goalie, and they were hanging very tough with him in net. But then he got hurt, and boy, the other two goalies in Carter Hutton and Jonas Johansson have just one win in 14 decisions (1-11-2) and a .883 save%.
—Jacob Bryson is getting a lot of shine and spotlight and could be a player in the future. The 23-year old fourth round pick from 2017 made his NHL debut this season, and has played 20+ minutes in four out of Buffalo’s last five games, including Thursday night against the Pens where he also recorded three shots on goal. Bryson is a very small but incredibly smooth-skating defenseman; very much in-line with the “new wave” players like Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes.
Taylor Hall - Dylan Cozens? - Sam Reinhart
Victor Olofsson -Eric Staal - Riley Sheahan
Jeff Skinner - Curtis Lazar - Casey Mittelstadt
Tage Thompson -Cody Eakin - Kyle Okposo
Matt Irwin / Rasmus Ristolainen
Rasmus Dahlin / Colin Miller
Jacob Bryson / Brandon Montour
Announced starting goalie: Carter Hutton
Scratches: Jack Eichel (injured), Tobias Rieder, Henri Jokiharju
IR: Jake McCabe, Linus Ullmark, William Borgen, Zemgus Girgensons
—After a not great night on Thursday in net, the Sabres have already announced Hutton will be in net tonight
—We’ll have to see about Cozens’ status, he was being “evaluated” yesterday and may well be out for today and even beyond after taking a big hit on Thursday from Zach Aston-Reese.
He said it
Buffalo coach Ralph Krueger yesterday:
“Guys are trying but obviously it’s not good enough,” Krueger said. “We’re measured by results and we’ve got to go back at it tomorrow and nobody’s gonna feel sorry for us in this situation. We’ve just got to fight our way out of it. Nothing’s coming easy, that’s for sure.”
And now for the Pens..
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust
Evan Rodrigues - Evgeni Malkin - Kasperi Kapanen
Zach Aston-Reese - Teddy Blueger - Brandon Tanev
Colton Sceviour - Mark Jankowski - Anthony Angello
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
Mike Matheson / Cody Ceci
Marcus Pettersson / Chad Ruhwedel
Possible starting goalie: Tristan Jarry
Scratches: Sam Lafferty, Juuso Riikola, John Marino (upper body injury, day-to-day)
IR: Jason Zucker, Mark Friedman, Jared McCann
Taxi Squad: Yannick Weber, Frederick Gaudreau, Maxime Lagace
—Marino didn’t practice yesterday, adding to a Wednesday absence on the ice. He did skate with the team on Thursday’s morning game skate. This reeks of a “player is 90%, but why not give him a few extra days considering Buffalo stinks”. It’ll be interesting to see if that is the case and Marino is back on Monday against Boston when he’ll be needed.
Malkin eyeing 1,100
Evgeni Malkin is closing in on yet another career milestone. From the Penguins:
Evgeni Malkin has been a huge contributing factor to Pittsburgh’s improved play as of late, as he’s picked up points in 10 of his last 12 games (4G-10A). Malkin enters tomorrow’s game three points shy of becoming the 63rd player in NHL history to record 1,100 points in their career. He also would join Mario Lemieux (1,723) and Sidney Crosby (1,288) as the only players in Penguins history to record 1,100 points with the team.
A veteran of 933 career games, Malkin is looking to become just the 20th player in NHL history to achieve this milestone in fewer than 950 games.
Malkin enters tomorrow’s game riding a six-game point streak (3G-6A). Only Carolina’s Dougie Hamilton (7 games) and St. Louis’ David Perron (7 games) have longer active point streaks in the NHL than Malkin.
Malkin has experienced a ton of success against Buffalo in his career he has points in 13 consecutive games against Buffalo (7G+13A), and has 57 points (19G+38A) in 43 career games overall playing the Sabres. With a point today, Malkin will record his first official seven game point streak since November 13-24, 2018 (2G+8A)