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Pens Preview Game 28- Sabres vs. Penguins: The Return Of Letang

Kris Letang Makes A Surprise Comeback As The Penguins Attempt To Sweep The Sabres.

Pittsburgh Penguins' Kris Letang
Photo by Charles LeClaire of USA TODAY Sports

Tonight's second half of a home-and-home series between the Penguins and Sabres is all about roster arithmetic. And involving some surprising addends at that.


The Penguins are adding two central players back to the line-up, as in late-breaking news came just after 5 PM that both Kris Letang and Ryan Poehling are available to play for the Penguins tonight. Each man returning from injury or illness. Letang, specifically, trying to come back after suffering his second stroke just 10 days ago. A stunning turnaround time for such an ailment.


In the opposing locker room, Buffalo is dealing with two significant roster subtractions. They will be without as forward Jeff Skinner who was suspended for three games for cross-checking Jake Guentzel late in Friday's game. Skinner's absence takes away a third of the Sabres' lethal first line centered by Tage Thompson. Buffalo will also be missing Henri Jokiharju who is out with a lower-body injury.


Two key additions for Pittsburgh and two subtractions for Buffalo is the right kind of math to add up in the Pens' favor as they try to sweep this back-to-back set against the Sabres tonight at PPG Paints Arena after taking game 1 in overtime, 4-3.


This is the final meeting of these teams for the season and the winner takes the 2022-23 series as it stands tied at a win each. So this is "so long" to the 24th place Sabes' until 2023-24.

GAME INFO

Pens Game #28: Penguins vs. Sabres

Date: December 10, 2022

Time: 7 PM (ET)

Place: Pittsburgh, PA

Venue: PPG Paints Arena

Broadcasts: Local- ATTSN, National- ESPN+

Social Media Hashtags #: #LetsGoPens #LetsGoSabres


TEAM MATCHUP

Records- PIT: 15-8-4, BUF: 12-13-3

Last 10- PIT: 8-1-1, BUF: 5-3-2

Streaks- PIT: 4 Wins, BUF: 1 Loss

Standings- PIT: 10th, BUF: 24th

Points- PIT: 34, BUF: 26

Season Series- 1-1

Series Goals For- PIT: 10, BUF: 6



Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Buffalo Sabres
via NHL.com

GOALIE MATCHUP

Projected starting goalies:

-CASEY DESMITH- #1

[Pittsburgh Penguins]

Bio Info: 6' 0", 181 lbs. DOB: 8/13/1991 (31). From: Rochester, NH

Drafted: Undrafted; Experience: 5th Season

Record: 3-5-1, 3.00 GAA, .908 SV%

Career vs. BUF: 3-2-2, 2.13 GAA, .931 SV%

🆚

-UKKO-PEKKA LUUKKONEN- #1

[Buffalo Sabres]

Bio Info: 6' 4", 220 lbs. DOB: 3/9/1999 (23). From: Espoo, Finland

Drafted: 2017- Rd 2, Pk 54 (BUF). Experience: Rookie

Record: 3-2-1, 4.15 GAA, .853 SV%

Career vs. PIT: Debut


PENGUINS UPDATE

-The Pens have been dominant at home vs. the Sabres. They're 58-26-20 all-time on home ice when facing Buffalo and have won five of the last six games played between these teams in Pittsburgh.


-Chad Ruhwedel will likely be scratched from the line-up for Kris Letang's return. And up front, Danton Heinen is the scratch for Ryan Poehling. As the fourth line of Poehling-Blueger-Archibald was producing prolifically went Poehling went down with his injury.


-The Penguins moved into the top 10 in the standings with last night's win, now at 34 points.


-Injury Report-

-Kris Letang (D): stroke, game-time decision.

-Ryan Poehling (F): upper-body, game-time decision.


-Pens Lines-

The projected Penguins lines for Saturday, December 10 vs. the Buffalo Sabres:


(Forwards)

Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Rickard Rakell

Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust

Brock McGinn - Jeff Carter - Kasperi Kapanen

Danton Heinen/Ryan Poehling - Teddy Blueger - Josh Archibald


(Defense)

Brian Dumoulin - Jeff Petry

Marcus Pettersson - Jan Rutta

P.O. Joseph - Chad Ruhwedel


(Special Teams)

PP1: Malkin, Crosby, Guentzel, Rakell, Petry

PP2: Carter, Rust, Zucker, Kapanen, Joseph

PK1: Blueger, McGinn, Petry, Pettersson

PK2: Carter/Rust, Archibald, Dumoulin, Rutta


OPPONENT UPDATE

-Buffalo's rookie netminder, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen will be debuting vs. the Penguins tonight. "UPL" is 3-2-1 on the year but his 4.15 goals-against average is the stat the Pens will look to exploit. As Pittsburgh is one of the strongest teams in goals per game in the league at 3.56 GF/GP and has already put up 10 goals in two games vs. the Sabres this season.


-Injury Report-

-Eric Comrie (G): IR, lower-body, week-to-week.

-Vinnie Hinostroza (F): IR, lower-body, day-to-day.

-Henri Jokiharju (F): lower-body, week-to-week.

-Ilya Lyubushkin (D): IR, lower-body, day-to-day.


DIMERS.COM ONES TO WATCH

For The Penguins: Jake Guentzel. Jake got under the Sabres skin last game for a reason, he remains one of the Pens' biggest on ice threats. On Friday he lengthened his point streak to six games including three points in just the last two played. Guentzel will likely come into this second meeting with a small chip on his shoulder after the excitement of clashing with the Sabres at the end of the third period last night too.


For The Sabres: Tage Thompson. Thompson didn't net a goal in game one but he extended his point streak to six games and is still the most dangerous Sabre on ice even without linemate Jeff Skinner. He might even be looking to send a message on the scoreboard after the Penguins "took" Skinner from the line-up so Tage remains the one to watch for Buffalo for a second straight game.


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