BUFFALO -- The Pittsburgh Penguins will be looking to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they face the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CITY, ROOT, MSG-B).
The Penguins are coming off a 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders on Friday and can clinch a wild card berth in the postseason with a win in any fashion against the Sabres.
The Penguins can also qualify for the playoffs if they get one point against the Sabres and either the Ottawa Senators lose to the Philadelphia Flyers in regulation or the Boston Bruins fail to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning in regulation or overtime, or if the Bruins lose to the Lightning in any fashion.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has done well against the Sabres this season and in his career. In the Penguins two wins against the Sabres this season he has no eight assists. In 27 games against Buffalo, he has 14 goals and 31 assists and he has a 19-game point streak against the Sabres in which he’s scored 10 goals and 26 assists.
Marc-Andre Fleury told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review he was starting against the Sabres following their loss to the Islanders.
The Sabres are coming off a 4-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. With that loss, the Sabres ensured they will finish last in the NHL and will have the greatest odds of winning the NHL Draft Lottery and the first pick at the 2015 NHL Draft in Sunrise, FL on June 26.
The Sabres and Penguins did not skate on Saturday. Both teams had to travel to Buffalo after their games on Friday.
Here are the projected lines:
Daniel Winnik – Sidney Crosby – Patric Hornqvist
Chris Kunitz – Evgeni Malkin – David Perron
Beau Bennett – Brandon Sutter – Steve Downie
Nick Spaling – Maxim Lapierre – Blake Comeau
Paul Martin – Ben Lovejoy
Rob Scuderi – Ian Cole
Injured: Christian Ehrhoff (upper body), Kris Letang (concussion), Pascal Dupuis (blood clot), Olli Maatta (upper body), Derrick Pouliot (upper body)
Matt Moulson – Johan Larsson – Tyler Ennis
Marcus Foligno – Mikhail Grigorenko – Brian Gionta
Cody Hodgson – Philip Varone – Zac Dalpe
Nicolas Deslauriers – Matt Ellis – Patrick Kaleta
Tyson Strachan – Zach Bogosian
Andrej Meszaros – Rasmus Ristolainen
Nikita Zadorov – Chad Ruhwedel
Injured: Andre Benoit (upper body), Mike Weber (lower body), Jerry D’Amigo (facial surgery), Zemgus Girgensons (foot), Josh Gorges (lower body), Chad Johnson (lower body), Cody McCormick (blood clots), Evander Kane (shoulder)
Status Report: Benoit did not skate on Thursday or Friday and will likely miss the game with an upper-body injury he sustained against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday.
Who’s Hot: Gionta has two goals and two assists and Ennis has a goal and two assists in the past two games. Grigorenko has a goal in each of the past two games. … Crosby has a goal and two assists and Scuderi has a goal and an assist in the past two games.