Penguins show their pride in Buffalo
The Penguins and Sabres got together this afternoon for the first ever joint pride game. I think this is a great thing and something we will see spread around the league and should. Human rights aren’t controversial and we need to stop placating those who think they are.
The only negative thing I will say is why don’t they wear those jerseys during the actual game! The NHL will come up with cool looking jerseys only to limit them to warmups only, why? Just wear them in the game! You’ll create even more awareness for a great cause when people tuning in notice the different jerseys. You have ads on the helmet that don’t match the color scheme so why can’t the team wear a rainbow jersey during the game? Hopefully, the league will make this change in the future.
As for the game…
The Penguins absolutely dominated the first period outshooting the Sabres 12-3. Even with the advantage they were only able to leave the period with a 1-0 lead on Jared McCann’s Mario Lemieux impression from behind the net.
Everything seems to be going in for McCann these days because they are. After scoring on his first shot of the game McCann’s shooting percentage climbed to 16.9% He’s feeling it this year.
The second period saw some good action and a lot of good saves from both Tristan Jarry and Dustin Tokarski. Former Sabre Evan Rodrigues was able to break through after a bad turnover by Dylan Cozens
Dylan Cozens tried to do too much and got burned there. I can live with players making those mistakes because they are easily fixable. I like players who try to make things happen rather than the ones who play like boring robots.
The Sabres did answer right back as the only player taller than Radim Zohorna in the game got on the board.
Tage Thompson isn’t going to make anybody forget about Ryan O’Reilly but he now has four goals in his last six games.
It is a Penguins game against the Buffalo Sabres so you know a Sidney Crosby point was coming and it did on the power play.
The Penguins power play was looking great during the sequence. The key being players moving their feet and passing with a purpose. They earned time and space until finally breaking through with a Bryan Rust goal
The Penguins were content sitting back in the neutral zone in the third period and forcing the Sabres to create offense without the threat of odd man rushes. It doesn’t make for aestetically pleasing hockey. It does make things harder for a last place team to overcome a two goal deficit in the third period.
Things were going to plan until Mark Jankowski was called for an offensive zone penalty and the Sabres scored on the ensuing power play. Jankowski looked like he was outsmarted by Dylan Cozens who sneakily grabbed his stick to draw the penalty. On the goal it looked like Jeff Carter drifted out of position too high which is likely the product of being a new player on a new team. Casey Mittelstadt was able to find the soft spot because of it
Mittelstadt’s goal on the power play was his sixth in eight games. A lot of the players who were drowning under Ralph Krueger all of a sudden are playing more freely and leaning into their skill sets.
Radim Zohorna did draw back into the lineup, which is good, but he was saddled with Mark Jankowski. I’d like to see what he can do without such an anchor at center.
Tristan Jarry had a solid performance stopping 27 out of 29 shots for a .931 day. His resurgence continues.
The Penguins did what they had to do to remain undefeated against the Buffalo Sabres this year. The Rangers and Flyers will not make up any ground on them and they will stay in the race for first in the division. With the victory the Penguins pass the Islanders momentarily for second in the division. The Sabres, well they are officially eliminated
The teams will meet again tomorrow at 3PM. Casey DeSmith is the likely starter for the Penguins and will go for his fourth consecutive shutouts against the Sabres.
Thanks for reading!