Preview: Sabres Look to Spoil Penguins Chance to Clinch

The Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins will meet for the final time this season. The two have split the season series with each team winning the game in their home building in one goal games.

Just a few weeks ago the two clubs got together in Pittsburgh. The Sabres jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and appeared to catch the defending champions off guard. Luckily for the Penguins, games are 60 minutes and over the final 40 of the game, they dominated. Pittsburgh staged a furious comeback to tie and eventually win the game with a late third-period goal. That game continued the Sabres on their downward spiral as they lost four of the next five and fell out of the playoff race

Both teams come into tonight pretty banged up. The Penguins are without big names like Evgeni Malkin, Olli Maatta and Kris Letang. While the Sabres are down to their ninth and tenth defenseman on the depth chart. A win tonight by the Penguins combined with a Washington Capitals loss will put them in first place atop the Metropolitan Division. Also, a Penguins win will clinch them a spot in the playoffs to defend their Stanley Cup Championship.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Buffalo Sabres

Key Bank Center – 7:00 p.m. EST

Broadcast channels – MSG-B & ROOT

2016-17 Season Series:
Nov. 19 – Sabres 2, Penguins 1 (SO)
Mar. 5 – Penguins 4, Sabres 3

Pittsburgh Penguins – 45-17-9 – 99 Points

Road Record: 16-13-6

Hot Players: Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Conor Sheary

Key Injuries: Evgeni Malkin, Bryan Rust, Daniel Sprong, Olli Maatta, Kris Letang, Carl Hagelin & Ron Hainsey

*Projected lines:


Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Conor Sheary

Scott Wilson – Matt Cullen – Phil Kessel

Patric Hornqvist – Nick Bonino – Chris Kunitz

Tom Kuhnhackl – Oskar Sundqvist – Carter Rowney


Brian Dumoulin – Justin Schultz

Chad Ruhwedel – Ian Cole

Mark Streit – Frank Corrado


Matt Murray

* Lines subject to change


Buffalo Sabres – 30-31-12 – 72 Points

Home Record: 17-12-6

Hot Players: Jack Eichel and Rasmus Ristolainen

Key Injuries: Kyle Okposo, William Carrier, Dmitry Kulikov, Justin Falk, Taylor Fedun, Cody Franson and Johan Larsson

**Projected lines:


Tyler Ennis – Jack Eichel – Ryan O’Reilly

Justin Bailey – Sam Reinhart – Matt Moulson

Matt Moulson – Evan Rodrigues – Brian Gionta

Marcus Foligno – Zemgus Girgensons – Hudson Fasching


Rasmus Ristolainen – Josh Gorges

Casey Nelson – Jake McCabe

Zach Bogosian – Brady Austin


Anders Nilsson

** Lines subject to change. 

Game Notes

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] Matt Murray will get the start for the Penguins against the Sabres. He gave up three goals in one period of action against Buffalo this season in their meeting a few weeks ago. Murray has been solid all season though winning 27 games for Pittsburgh. It has not been confirmed, but Anders Nilsson would be the logical start for the Sabres tonight with Robin Lehner playing last night against the Red Wings. Dan Bylsma could decide to go back to Lehner with the team being off until Saturday.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] Sidney Crosby is red hot coming into tonight’s game. He has five goals in his last two games and ten points in his last five. Crosby has jumped back to the top of the NHL point lead. The 29-year old also has a history of dominating the Sabres with 50 in points in 33 career games.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] Jack Eichel and Rasmus Ristolainen come in as the hot players for the Sabres. Eichel has at least one point in 15 of his last 17 games. Ristolainen has three points in his last five games and has played over 25 minutes in those games and over 30 minutes in two.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Sabres are 3-9-1 against the Penguins dating back to the 2012-13 season. The last regulation win against them came on Apr. 23rd, 2013 in a 4-2 win in Pittsburgh. The last regulation home win for the Sabres over the Penguins dates back to Feb. 19th, 2012.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap] Evan Rodrigues has been absolutely fantastic for the Sabres since being recalled. The 23-year old has fit in nicely as a bottom six center with the club and has been good playing a two-way game. He has five points in 21 games this season and is making the case down the final stretch to be in the conversation as the team’s fourth line center come next season.