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Game Preview: Pens-Sabres

by Michelle Crechiolo @PensInsideScoop / Penguins Team Reporter

Game Date

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Opponent

Buffalo Sabres

Game Time

7 PM

Place

KeyBank Center

TV

AT&T SportsNet

Radio 

105.9 FM, the X

Notables

* This is the third and final meeting of the season between Pittsburgh and Buffalo. Both of the previous matchups this season went to overtime, with the Sabres winning 4-3 on March 1 and 5-3 on Nov. 19.

* That overtime victory two weeks ago is Buffalo's only win in their past 8 games. They are 1-6-1 over that span.

* Meanwhile, the Penguins have earned standings points in 8 of their last 9 games (6-1-2). In their last 2 games, the Penguins ended the Bruins' 19-game point streak and the Capitals' 7-game winning streak.

* The Penguins also own an overall 17-game point streak (14-0-3) against Buffalo. It's the longest such run for either team in the history of the series. Pittsburgh also has a 10-game point streak (8-0-2) against the Sabres here at KeyBank Center. 

* Evgeni Malkin has an 8-game point streak against the Sabres. He made history on Tuesday against Washington when he became just the 88th player in NHL history to record 1,000 career points. Malkin also became just the 5th Russian-born player to hit the milestone.

* Justin Schultz earned the primary assist on the play where Malkin recorded his 1,000th NHL point, which was his 200th career point. The defenseman has 13 points (1G-12A) in 17 games this year.

* Sidney Crosby has points in 5-straight games against the Sabres. He has recorded at least 1 point in 34 of 38 career games against Buffalo, posting 59 points (20G-39A).

* With two goals in Pittsburgh's 5-3 win over Washington, Crosby reached the 90-point mark for the 6th time in his career, the first time he has done so since 2013-14. 

* His line with Jared McCann and Jake Guentzel has been terrific. McCann has 8 points in the last 6 games (4G-4A), while Guentzel has 10 points in his last 6 games (6G-4A).

* Casey DeSmith gets the nod in goal tonight for Pittsburgh, which will be his first start since Feb. 21 vs. San Jose. With that, Matt Murraywill see his streak of consecutive starts end at 9 games, which was a new personal high. He went 6-1-2 over that span, with a 2.30 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage. 

* Carter Hutton gets the nod in goal tonight for Buffalo. He is 3-0-0 with 2 shutouts in 5 career appearances against Pittsburgh, posting a .956 save percentage and 1.36 goals-against average.

* Despite being on a 12-game goal drought entering tonight, Jeff Skinner still has 36 goals this season, needing 1 more to tie his previous career high set in 2016-17.

* The Sabres will be without leading point producer Jack Eichel, who is serving the second game of a 2-game suspension.

Workflow

McCann-Crosby-Guentzel

Blueger-Malkin-Kessel

Simon-Bjugstad-Hornqvist

Blandisi-Cullen-Wilson

Dumoulin-Trotman

Johnson-Schultz

Pettersson-Gudbranson

Injuries

PIT - Zach Aston-Reese (lower-body), Kris Letang (upper-body), Olli Maatta (upper-body), Chad Ruhwedel (upper-body), Bryan Rust (lower-body).

BUF - Jake McCabe (upper-body).

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