Penguins at Sabres Preview: Back In Buffalo
A home and home, back-to-back series kicks off on the road for the Penguins.
A back-to-back starts back in Buffalo on Friday when the Penguins and Sabres meet to kick off a weekend home and home series.
The Pens are on a three-game win streak coming into this game. Which is their second-longest stretch of victories this season after a five-game peak.
They also want to correct a bit of bad history here. The prior meeting between these teams on November 2nd was a spectacular Penguins collapse. The team blew a 3-1 lead in the final frame. Even worse than the blown lead were the five answered goals given up to Buffalo. That came during Pittsburgh's brutal seven-game losing streak earlier this season and it was a result that surely stuck with them. So the refocused Pens will be out to save some pride tonight.
Tristan Jarry is taking this lead-off game in net, as the Penguins want to get a strong start on the road in this their fifth back-to-back scenario in the same amount of weeks. That means Casey DeSmith will take the second half of this series and easier assignment back at home.
Pens Game #27: Pittsburgh Penguins at Buffalo Sabres
Date: December 9, 2022
Time: 7 PM (ET)
Place: Buffalo, NY
Venue: KeyBank Arena
Broadcasts: Local- ATTSN, National- ESPN+
Social Media Hashtags #: #LetsGoPens #LetsGoSabres
Records- PIT: 14-8-4, BUF: 12-13-1
Last 10- PIT: 8-1-1, BUF: 5-4-1
Streaks- PIT: 3 Wins, BUF: 2 Wins
Standings- PIT: 12th, BUF: 24th
Points- PIT: 32, BUF: 25
Season Series- 1-0 BUF
Series Goals For- PIT: 3, BUF: 6
Team Stats Comparison:
Confirmed starting goalies-
-TRISTAN JARRY- #35
Bio Info: 6' 2", 194 lbs. DOB: 4/29/1995 (27). From: Surrey, BC.
Drafted: 2013- Rd 2, Pk 44 (PIT). Experience: 7th Season.
Record: 11-3-3, 2.75 GAA, .919 SV%
Career vs. BUF: 7-2-0, 2.22 GAA, .916 SV%
-CRAIG ANDERSON- #41
Bio Info: 6' 2", 186 lbs. DOB: 5/21/1981 (41). From: Park Ridge, IL.
Drafted: 2001- Rd 3, Pk 73 (CHI). Experience: 20th Season.
Record: 5-4-0, 2.87 GAA, .916 SV%
Career vs. PIT: 8-11-3, 3.00 GAA, .909 SV%
Some new info on the Penguins' injured players: Kris Letang (stroke) returned to skating-only activities in practice today. Just a week after suffering his second stroke. He is not cleared for full practice and there is no timeline on when he will return. He’s also added a tinted visor to his gear for the first time in his career apparently to help reduce related visual effects.
Josh Archibald is likely to play tonight, although he took a maintenance day yesterday from practice. It was described as “scheduled” by coach Mike Sullivan which doesn’t indicate any new injury. Ryan Poehling however is actually injured and although practicing still not cleared for contact due to an upper-body injury. Danton Heinen is expected to remain in Poehling’s spot vs. Buffalo.
The Pens have retooled their penalty kill. Without Ryan Poehling available they've instituted a novel nine-man set-up. They're cycling between two fixed units to balance player usage, working Jeff Carter and Bryan Rust in alternating spells on the number two PK.
-Kris Letang (D): stroke, out indefinitely.
-Ryan Poehling (F): upper-body, day-to-day.
The projected Penguins lines for Friday, December 9, 2022, at the Buffalo Sabres:
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Rickard Rakell
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust
Brock McGinn - Jeff Carter - Kasperi Kapanen
Danton Heinen - Teddy Blueger - Josh Archibald
Brian Dumoulin - Jeff Petry
Marcus Pettersson - Jan Rutta
P.O. Joseph - Chad Ruhwedel
PP1: Malkin, Crosby, Guentzel, Rakell, Petry
PP2: Carter, Rust, Zucker, Kapanen, Joseph
PK1: Blueger, McGinn, Petry, Pettersson
PK2: Carter/Rust, Archibald, Dumoulin, Rutta
The Sabres are on a two-game win streak and thumped the Blue Jackets 9-4 two nights ago so they carry some momentum heading into this game.
Buffalo also took the first game of the season series this year too, beating the Pens by a solid 6-3 differential. These aren't the same sinking Sabres of old. Their position in the league's standings is deceptive and hides the fact they have plenty of talented young players who can step up and run away with the game, like Tage Thompson (see our "Ones To Watch").
-Eric Comrie (G): IR, lower-body, week-to-week.
-Vinnie Hinostroza (F): IR, lower-body, day-to-day.
-Ilya Lyubushkin (D): IR, lower-body, day-to-day.
For The Penguins: Bryan Rust. After working through some struggles and a hell of a slump, Bryan Rust is back to himself it seems. He's scored six points in the last two games. He's been reignited since being paired on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Jason Zucker. Rust has finally broken through a one-point in 13-game-long slump since making the transition.
For The Sabres: Tage Thompson. Tage Thompson is the man of the moment in the NHL. He comes into tonight's game against the Pens after a six-point, five-goal game against Columbus on December 7th. That's the most impressive singular performance of any player in the league this year and Thompson's official society entrance to NHL stardom. Beyond that game, Tage has produced a ridiculous 14 points in the last five games alone. He's likely to be the game decider tonight: either by the Penguins effectively controlling his onslaught or him putting on another dazzling fireworks display on offense.