Penguins assistant general manager Bill Guerin gives his three impressions from the management booth of the Penguins’ 6-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center.
1. We had a good start. It’s the type of game that’s tough to play when you play a team that’s far behind you in the standings and hasn’t won a lot of games. It was good that our players were prepared in that way.
2. (Sidney Crosby’s) five assists definitely helped.
3. The biggest thing on all our goals, the common denominator was Patric Hornqvist being in front of the net.
Sam Kasan gives his three takeaways from the press box.
1. Avoid the Trap
The Penguins are the top team in the Eastern Conference. The Sabres are the bottom team in the Eastern Conference. So this contest was setting up to be a typical “trap game.” And games like this can be hard for teams to really get fired up to play. To the Penguins’ credit, they did not take the Sabres lightly. Pittsburgh was full throttle from start, scoring twice in the opening four minutes to finish. Which spelled doom for Buffalo.
“I thought we had a lot of push, a lot of jump in our game,” head coach Mike Johnston said. “That just shows respect for the opponent. The guys were prepared and ready to go. They don’t take anybody lightly.”
2. Career Nights
It was a banner night for many players on the team, but two had career nights. Defenseman Kris Letang equaled his single-game career highs with two goals and four points. Captain Sidney Crosby posted a career-high tying five assists. Crosby has feasted on the Sabres in his career. He’s recorded at least a point in 25 of 27 games against Buffalo, and now has a 19-game scoring streak against the Sabres for 36 points (10G-26A).
“It’s always fun to score goals,” Letang said. “I’m not going to lie about that.”
The Penguins’ power play has gotten a lot of press recently, and rightfully so. But Pittsburgh’s penalty killing unit has quietly gone a team-record 10 straight games without allowing a power-play goal. The PK unit has killed off 37 straight and has been a major factor in the team’s recent 7-game winning streak. During that stretch the PK has gone 25-for-25.
“Our penalty kill has just been bang on for three or four weeks now,” Johnston said.