Despite playing a solid game, the Buffalo Sabres fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins 1-0 Wednesday at HSBC Arena. Pens goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury recorded his 17th career shutout and first one this season, while rookie netminder Jhonas Enroth only allowed one goal and had a good performance. But it wasn’t enough.
“It was a little bit of a rookie mistake by me. I tried to fight the pass from Crosby, but he caught me off guard”, said Enroth on the unfortunate goal he let slide by.
Buffalo was still without Ryan Miller, as he struggles to overcome a groin injury, as well as Rob Niedermayer (who will be out a few weeks following knee surgery) and Tim Connolly (who also has a groin issue). Drew Stafford was still absent; however, a weekend return is anticipated. The team also recalled Colin Stuart and Luke Adam from the Portland Pirates for tonight’s game, with Stuart having several scoring chances throughout but he wasn’t able to send one home. Enroth also came up for the night.
The Sabres came out strong in the first period, taking advantage of early opportunities. However, the Penguins were ready too. Both Enroth and Fleury started the matchup with multiple big saves.
It wasn’t until there were a mere five minutes left in the period that the Penguins broke the scoreless tie. Star Pittsburgh forward Sidney Crosby dished the puck to Pascal Dupuis, who put it past Enroth to give his club the (final) one goal advantage. Crosby currently leads the league in points, and holds a streak of nine goals and 12 assists in his last 10 games. Statistically he’s the best, and it’s no surprise that he earned a point this evening; however, his night was fairly quiet overall.
After a taking a puck to the elbow in the first period, Derek Roy struggled with vision problems in the third. Head coach Lindy Ruff isn’t sure why, and stated that Roy is being checked out. As if Buffalo needs another injury. Stuart and Adam have greatly benefited the team in the multiple absences; however Roy is Buffalo’s point leader. Losing him for any amount of time would be problematic. Hopefully he won’t be forced to miss the weekend games.
Both teams were scoreless throughout the second and third stanzas, making those 40 minutes uneventful and the final decision of the game 1-0. Buffalo did, however, manage to bounce back from a shaky final 15 minutes in the first for two solid periods of play. The defense stepped up to protect Enroth, allowing the offense to take shots on Fleury. Recent call-up Colin Stuart offered his opinion on the situation following the game.
“A goalie like that, when he sees the puck he’s gonna make the save every time,” Stuart said. “I didn’t think we tested him enough.”
Excellent way to put it, Colin. Fleury didn’t face enough magic in front of the net. He wasn’t blindsided by any play. He saw everything, allowing him to save everything. Ruff discussed Buffalo’s missed opportunities in his post game press conference.
“We can’t miss the chances we missed. In a game like that, you can’t miss the net on the power play when you’re dead in the slot. Those [chances] are ones you have to convert if you’re going to win hockey games. When you get the puck in those key situations, you got to do something with it.”
Enough said. Do something about it, boys. Your next chance is Friday against the Leafs.