Welcome to Hockey Day in America! After a successful trip to Winnipeg, the Pittsburgh Penguins travel to Buffalo for a 12:30 p.m. faceoff with the Sabres. The Sabres enter their second game of a three game homestand, coming off a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins. Buffalo has hit a rough spot recently, going 4-5-1 over their last ten games.
When and where: First Niagara Center (Buffalo, NY); 12:30 p.m. et (NBC, TSN2)
Season series: First meeting of the season
Last meeting: The last time the Penguins and Sabres met was March 30, 2012. This was also the last day the Penguins were in Buffalo. Through the first period, both teams traded goals with Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby scoring for the Penguins, and Jordan Leopold and Tyler Ennis cashing in for the Sabres. The second period saw the Penguins take control of the game thanks in part to goals from James Neal and Steve Sullivan. Jordan Staal sealed the 5-3 victory with an empty netter at 19:54 of the third period.
Players to keep an eye on:
1. Thomas Vanek: Along with James Neal and John Tavares, Thomas Vanek sits atop the league lead in goals with eleven. However, Vanek has the NHL points lead all to himself with twenty-three points, two points ahead of Steven Stamkos. The twenty-nine year old Austrian has been held scoreless the past three games, so he could be looking to put up some point this afternoon.
2. Jason Pominville: Along with Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville has been a bright spot in the Sabres lineup. The fifty-fifth overall selection in the 2001 NHL draft has fourteen points on the year, good enough for second on the team, one point ahead of Cody Hodgson. Last season against the Penguins, Pominville scored six points including a three point performance on February 19.
Sabres: LW Ville Leino (hip), D Andrej Sekera (lower body)
Former Penguins alert: D Jordan Leopold
14 Chris Kunitz-87 Sidney Crosby (C)-9 Pascal Dupuis
24 Matt Cooke-71 Evgeni Malkin (A)-18 James Neal
19 Beau Bennett-16 Brandon Sutter-48 Tyler Kennedy
10 Tanner Glass-46 Joe Vitale-27 Craig Adams
2 Matt Niskanen-58 Kris Letang
44 Brooks Orpik (A)-7 Paul Martin
41 Robert Bortuzzo-5 Deryk Engelland
29 Marc-Andre Fleury
Sabres (via Die by the Blade)
26 Thomas Vanek (A)-19 Cody Hodgson-29 Jason Pominville (C)
82 Marcus Foligno-63 Tyler Ennis-21 Drew Stafford (A)
9 Steve Ott-55 Jochen Hecht-42 Nathan Gerbe
32 John Scott-25 Mikhail Grigorenko-36 Patrick Kaleta
10 Christian Ehrhoff-52 Alexander Sulzer
24 Robyn Regehr-57 Tyler Myers
6 Mike Weber-3 Jordan Leopold
30 Ryan Miller