The buzz around the Pittsburgh Penguins and specifically Marc-Andre Fleury as at a high after the shutout of the New Jersey Devils on Thursday to open up the season. But what is that game worth exactly? How much should be taken from any of the first several games on the schedule? The Pens don’t play a team that made the playoffs last year until October 19 when they play the Vancouver Canucks. Tonight, they play the Buffalo Sabres who project to finish at or near the bottom of the Atlantic division.
Starting the schedule off week is beneficial to the Penguins who have superstars dropping like flies before they even have the chance to get going. Kris Letang remains out of the lineup with a lower body injury and he will be joined by James Neal who went down in the first period of the opener. Neal’s injury isn’t considered serious but he is being evaluated on a week to week basis.
The good news is that Wilkes Barre/Scranton could probably give the Sabres a decent game. This will be the third game of the year for Buffalo and they’ve only mustered one goal through the first two. Their offense is an issue when totally healthy but they are missing Ville Leino who is out with cracked ribs. Looking up and down the Sabres lineup, it’s difficult to find much to worry about if your the Penguins outside of Tomas Vanek.
Ryan Miller is back in the net for Buffalo after many assumed last season would be his final one with the team he has spent his entire career with. Through the first two games of the season, he has certainly been earning his money. He made 45 saves against Ottawa on Friday before allowing the only goal of the game with a minute and a half left to play.
Miller’s solid start to the season will be tested against the Penguins. Outside of two wins against the Pens in April, his career numbers against Pittsburgh are rather miserable. Sidney Crosby especially likes facing Buffalo. He has 32 points in 22 games against them.