SABRES (13-17-6) at PENGUINS (28-8-0)
TV: NBCSN, ROOT
Last 10: Buffalo 4-3-3; Pittsburgh 10-0-0
Season series: It’s the second of three meetings.
Big story: The Penguins look to extend their win streak to 16, which would give them the second longest win streak in NHL history and one shy of their own record of 17, set during the 1992-93 season.
Sabres: Don’t count the Sabres out of the playoff picture just yet. Although they sit 13th in the conference, Buffalo is only five points back of the eighth-place New York Rangers. However, there is not much room for error if they plan on making it.
The Sabres were held off the scoreboard against the Bruins on Sunday, but they played a solid 60 minutes. Ryan Miller hasn’t been as brilliant of late, but he also hasn’t had much help. The team’s leading scorer, Thomas Vanek has been sidelined with an injury and they are struggling to replace his points. Buffalo’s defense is also sitting towards the bottom of the NHL, currently ranked 25th with a goals-against average of 3.00.
In addition to the current adversaries the Sabres are facing, the Penguins seem to have had Miller’s number for quite some time. In 19 career games against Pittsburgh, Miller is 5-11-3 with a 3.44 GAA and .881 save percentage. Numbers that don’t really reflect the silver medalist’s usual stellar play.
Penguins: The Penguins lost captain Sidney Crosby on Saturday, after he got hit with a shot that broke his jaw. How long he will be out remains to be seen, but it’s up to the Pens to continue to march on without him in the meantime.
"Obviously, it's a huge loss and the way Sid's been playing has been unbelievable," teammate James Neal said. "Losing him stinks, but at the same time we've got some good depth on this team and that gives a chance for some guys to step up, and definitely for some new guys we just acquired to step up.”
In previous years, the Penguins have been able to continue their winning ways without Crosby, but obviously would rather have the star center on the ice. What’s different about this season is Ray Shero’s acquisitions of Brenden Morrow, Douglas Murray and Iginla.
Who’s hot: Pittsburgh goaltender Tomas Vokoun has recorded back-to-back shutouts.
Injury report: Crosby (broken jaw) and Paul Martin (broken hand) join Kris Letang, who is sidelined with a lower-body injury. … Vanek and Ville Leino are both suffering from upper-body injuries for the Sabres. They will also be without Corey Trop (knee) and Alexander Sulzer (lower body).
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