Without Crosby and without Vitale, the Pens were missing their two best faceoff men.
Douglas Murray and Patrick Kaleta began a huge rumble to start the game. Actually, Kaleta started it when he went high on Tyler Kennedy, and Murray wasn't a fan of that. The Pens just started banging Kaleta until he realized and started backing off.
The MIN line was a force from their first shift. Iginla was given a look in front from Geno, then Iginla returned the favor with Geno streaking to the net. Miller was looking sharp.
The Pens had a mystery power play, and the Sabres killed it.
Then the Pens got another PP. This time, it was 4 minutes when Mike Weber Kunitz'd Morrow behind the Sabres net. It was 2 for doing the deed then an extra 2 for chirping. Weber seemed determined to try and lose the game for the Sabres.
Tough break on that PP. Iginla's stick broke on a slapper, but he was still able to take away some space as the Sabres countered. Pens looked to be out of trouble when Niskanen got the puck, but then Niskanen drank too much and fed some Porter dude. Snipe on Vokoun. 1-0.
Ever since that huge turnover against the Islanders, Niskanen has been rattled. Really tough last couple of periods for him.
Everyone was stunned. Pens PP looked off. Iginla looks badass on the left half-boards, though. Late in the 4 minutes, they finally broke through. Iginla slithered in from the high slot, and Kunitz fed him. It was a fan job, but it counts. 1-1.
Everything was fine, and then the Sabres decided to get the goal back before the intermission. Steve Ott sucks.
2-1. Game-changing goal.
Rob King getting jobbed on the intermission report was the most exciting thing to happen the rest of the game:
When Tomas Vokoun is playing really well, he is on top of everything.
When he is playing bad:
Before anyone knew what happened, Sabres were up 4-1 and MAF was back between the pipes.
Pens jumped on a train to the box. First Engelland, then Despres. Douglas Murray had Fleury's crease on lockdown. All killed.
Pens looked just awful. They had three shots the entire period. Don't discount that many of the Sabres were basically auditioning for other teams and/or for the Sabres not to trade them for whatever reason that would be.
There was a time where TK looked good playing center. That time was over quicky.
Lucky Orpik didn't break his hand here.
Worst period in a month.
Murray continued his punishment on Kaleta. If there's one big takeaway from this game, it was Murray's personal jihad on Kaleta.
For the rest of the season and the playoffs, anyone who does anything to a Penguin will be staring down the barrel of Murray for the rest of the night. If you've been watching Murray these past few games, you know he has to be cold, calculated, and deliberate given his lack of speed and recovery skills. He hasn't been in the NHL this long for nothing.
Rest of the game probably could have been conceded to be honest. Crosby probably threw up the soup he has to eat for the next 4 weeks.
-- Nice moment from the game. Pens saluted Orpik for surpassing Ron Stackhouse on the all-time games-played list for Pens D-men. Fifth overall in a Pens uniform.
-- The Pens miss Paul Martin.