By The Numbers: Pittsburgh Penguins Defeat Buffalo Sabres 5-2
|Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Post Gazette|
The Pittsburgh Penguins did what they were supposed to do in their game against the Buffalo Sabres, win. They unfortunately couldn't do so without taking another blow to their forward group, with Kasperi Kapanen having to leave the game with an injury.
Already out with a good chunk of their forwards, Kapanen has been one of their more consistent players this season, something they can ill afford to lose at any point in the year, more so when you've already been hit hard by injuries.
The Penguins took it to the Sabres though, with a late penalty shot goal by Victor Olofsson making the score 5-2.
Sidney Crosby registered a goal and an assist, Evan Rodrigues led the Pens with six shots, finding the back of the net once and Tristan Jarry made 26 saves in the win
Kris Letang, Zach Aston-Reese and John Marino also pitched in goals for the Penguins, who get back in the winning column after having their six game winning streak ended on Sunday.
By The Numbers: Pens Defeat Sabres 5-2
The depth of the Penguins is being tested right now, with names like Evgeni Malkin, Teddy Blueger and Brandon Tanev all out of the lineup right now. You can potentially factor in Kapanen as well, who left the game with an injury.
If there was any game for the depth players to make some noise, it was against the lowly Sabres, who easily own the worst record in the league right now.
While at 5v5, the top three forwards when it comes to shot attempt percentage (Corse-For percentage), were from the fourth line. Colton Sceviour led the way with a 71.43 CF%, Anthony Angello posted a 69.23%, and Frederick Gaudreau had a 64.29%.
Gaudreau himself assisted on Aston-Reese's shorthanded goal, getting him on the score sheet for the first time as a Penguins.
The fact that Rodrigues only had one goal tonight was a shame, especially considering who they played against. Not only was it his former team, but also the worst team in the league.
Rodrigues landed six shots on net, while having seven overall attempts in 12:22 of 5v5 time on ice. He had a couple more opportunities he would probably like to get back, but if he continues to fire the puck on net like that, they'll start to find their way in.
It hasn't been an ideal season from either John Marino or Marcus Pettersson. Both were recently given longer term contracts, and both have struggled in their first full season after signing their respective deals.
Pettersson missed some time due to an injury, and Marino has struggled in his own end at times this season.
While you really don't want to read too much into a singular performance, even more the case with them facing the Sabres, but playing as a pair, Pettersson and Marino had a strong game on Wednesday.
In 14:49 of 5v5 TOI, Pettersson and Marino controlled 57.89% of the shot attempts, 81.44% of the expected goals, and owned all of the goals (1-0), scoring chances (6-0), and high-danger opportunities (2-0).
Marino himself found the back of the net for the second time of the season. While Pettersson has been one of the central figures in trade talks, both he and Marino are two of the younger members of the blue line and are a big part to their success - both now and the future.
Maybe Pettersson is a player the Penguins can afford to trade, but until that time, the Penguins will need him to be able to shut down the opposition like he did on Wednesday.
The Penguins and Sabres meet again on Thursday, with the game also taking place in Pittsburgh. Game time is 7:00 PM.
What were your takeaways from the Penguins victory? Should someone like Gaudreau get regular playing time going forward? What will it take for Marino and Pettersson to get back to how they played a year prior? Let us know in the comment section below, subscribe to the site at the link at the top, and follow me on Twitter @AJ_Murfy.