The troubled Pens are spiraling after a crushing loss on Tuesday.
The Penguins go right back on the road for the second half of a back-to-back set after a brutal loss to the Boston Bruins in overtime on Monday.
Five goals just weren't enough to win against Boston. The fact that the Pens blew a two-goal lead to allow the Bruins to come back just piled onto their problems. Now they have to hit the road to face the surprisingly good Buffalo Sabres team without a day to catch their breath. The Sabres are young, fast, and stacked with budding talent. The circumstances are ripe for another thumping if the Penguins aren't very careful and get back to a simplistic game.
And since they're already on a five-game losing skid the consequences of losing this one could be dire. Nothing is clicking right now for the Penguins except for the top six forwards occasionally breaking through with a burst of goals. The rest is a jumble of blown coverage, poor positioning, a lack of timely saves in the net, and lines with zero chemistry. All of this quietly implies to on-lookers: "win or changes will be coming to this team soon".
So there's no pressure at all for the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight, right?!
Pens Game #11: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Buffalo Sabres
Date: November 2, 2022
Time: 7:30 PM (ET)
Place: Buffalo, NY
Venue: KeyBank Center
Broadcasts: Local- ATTSN, National- TNT
Records- PIT: 4-4-2, BUF: 6-3-0
Standings- PIT: 23rd, BUF: 10th
Points- PIT: 10, BUF: 12
‘21/22 Season Series- 2-1 BUF
‘21/22 Series Goals For- PIT: 7, BUF: 8
Team Analytics Comparison:
Projected starting goalies-
-Casey DeSmith- #1
Bio Info: 6' 0", 181 lbs. DOB: 8/13/1991 (31). From: Rochester, NH.
Drafted: Undrafted; Experience: 5th Season.
Record: 0-2-1, 2.97 GAA, .913 SV%
Career vs. BUF: 3-1-2, 1.81 GAA, .941 SV%
-Eric Comrie- #31
Bio Info: 6' 1", 180 lbs. DOB: 7/6/1995 (27). From: Edmonton, AB.
Drafted: 2013- Rd 2, Pk 59 (WPG). Experience: 7th Season.
Record: 3-3-0, 3.34 GAA, .902 SV%
Career vs. PIT: 0-0-0, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 SV%
No gameday skate was held today due to playing on consecutive days so any line changes and the status of the sick Kris Letang are both unknown. Head coach Mike Sullivan will be doing press availability shortly before the game and should have details on Letang's status at the minimum.
A positive note during this losing streak for the upcoming game, Pittsburgh has gone 7-1-2 vs. Buffalo in their last 10 games played.
The Captain has also done well against the Sabes' in the past. Sidney Crosby is over a point-per-game player against Buffalo with 77 points (25G-52A) in 53 career games played.
The Pens don't look good as a team right now, but tonight they'll at least look good aesthetically. They're debuting their new "Reverse Retro" edition jerseys that feature the styling of the mid-to-late 1990s Penguins' sweaters. They feature the logo affectionately (or not, depending on who you ask) as the "pigeon logo" or the "Robo Penguin".
-Teddy Blueger (F): LTIR, upper body, is out until November 5th at least.
-Jeff Carter (F): lower body, day-to-day.
-Kris Letang (D): illness, game-time decision.
The projected Penguins lines for Wednesday, November 2, 2022, at the Buffalo Sabres:
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Rickard Rakell
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust
Danton Heinen - Drew O’Connor - Kasperi Kapanen
Brock McGinn - Ryan Poehling - Josh Archibald
Brian Dumoulin - Jeff Petry
Marcus Pettersson - Jan Rutta
Pierre-Olivier Joseph - Chad Ruhwedel
Brian Dumoulin - Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson - Jeff Petry
Pierre-Olivier Joseph - Jan Rutta
PP1: Crosby, Rust, Malkin, Guentzel, Letang/Petry*
PP2: Pettersson/Petry*, Zucker, Rakell, Heinen, Joseph
PK1: Rust, Kapanen, Petry, Pettersson
PK2: Poehling, McGinn, Dumoulin, Rutta
(*Depending on Kris Letang’s availability to play)
Buffalo is indeed a decent team this season. They're second in the Atlantic Division in fact, which might surprise anyone who hasn't been paying much attention to out-of-town teams and knows their history of over a decade of dysfunction as a franchise.
They have the second most goals for games played in the league at 4.11. They're stingy on giving goals up the other way as well: just 2.78 goals against/GP in that metric. Their powerplay is holding steady in the top 15 in the league too.
The Sabres are also coming in with a day of rest over the Pens. They last played on Monday when they whupped Detroit 8-3.
Key players added: Defenseman- Ilya Lyubushkin, Jeremy Davies. Goalies- Craig Anderson, Eric Comrie.
Key players lost: Defensemen- Colin Miller, Mark Pysyk.
-Ilya Lyubushkin (D): lower body, day-to-day.
-Mattias Samuelsson (D): IR, lower body, out week-to-week.
-Henri Jokiharju (D): IR, facial fracture, week-to-week.
For The Penguins: Evgeni Malkin. The "old" man Malkin has points in all but two games this season. He's scored three points in the last three games. And he has points in four of the last five games overall. He's been a production machine since the start of 2022-23.
For The Sabres: Tage Thompson. "Young, fast, and budding talent" is exactly what Tage Thompson is. Thompson has scored five goals in just the last two games played. Playing against a tired Pens team with a goalie who has yet to win this year in Casey DeSmith, Thompson could light the scoreboard ablaze on Wednesday.