Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 3-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center.
*The Pens had looked lethargic and lackadaisical in the first period. And through the opening 19:50 minutes it appeared they would have nothing to show for it.
Enter Sidney Crosby.
Crosby scored arguably the greatest goal of his career, and that's saying something. Crosby carried the puck coast-to-coast, splitting the Sabres defensemen and then, with one hand, somehow flipped the puck on his backhand over the glove of Robin Lehner.
It was certainly Crosby's nastiest goal of the season, maybe ever. And he continues his torrid scoring production.
Video: PIT@BUF: Crosby dances past defense for gorgeous PPG
*Speaking of that torrid scoring production, Crosby has 6 goals in his last 3 games, including his 10th career hat trick against Florida, and 11 points (6G-5A) in his past 5 contests.
Crosby also continued his dominance of Buffalo. He has recorded points in 24 of his last 26 against the Sabres for 42 total points (12G-30A). He now has 51 career points (16G-35A) in 34 contests against Buffalo.
*Nick Bonino has been a valuable member of the Pens. And when he's producing, the Pens are impossible to matchup against. Just like last season, Bonino saved his best for last.
Bonino scored the game-winner with 5:29 left in the game. That was his 15th goal of the season, and his 6th tally in the last 8 games.
Head coach Mike Sullivan was asked about Bonino's play following the team's morning skate. And he wisely noted that Bonino's goals lately have been at clutch times. Bonino proved that point this evening.
*The Pens top line of Crosby, Conor Sheary and Jake Guentzel had produced 25 points (10G-15A) in the last 5 games. But the trio was unfortunately broken up when Guentzel was injured in the first period following a check from Rasmus Ristolainen.
Guentzel was backing out of the defensive zone when Ristolainen nailed him with a hip check, even though he did not have the puck. The collision jarred Guentzel, who struggled to get back on his feet.
Guentzel was diagnosed with a concussion. The Pens were forced to shuffle around their line combinations throughout the game.
Ristolainen was given a 5-minute interference major and game-misconduct.
*The Sabres have the NHL's No. 1-ranked power play. What's the best way to defend against an effective power play? Simple, don't take a lot of penalties. The Pens only gave the Sabres 1 power-play opportunity. It was halfway through the third period, but Pittsburgh's aggressive approached work for a successful kill.
*Defenseman Frank Corrado made his Pens' debut against the Sabres. Corrado, who was picked up at the NHL trade deadline. He handled himself extremely well. Corrado saw time on the PK and worked with blueliner Mark Streit. It was a seamless transition.