Hockey Day in America will be celebrated in Buffalo as the Sabres host the Pittsburgh Penguins for a nationally televised matchup inside of First Niagara Center.The meeting is the first between the two nearby rivals during this shortened season. The team’s also met on last year’s Hockey Day in America, where the Sabres came out on top 6-2 in front of their home crowd and the NBC audience.Both teams enter the contest with momentum. The Sabres snapped a two-game losing streak with a 4-2 comeback win over the Boston Bruins Friday night, while the Penguins secured a 3-1 road victory over the Winnipeg Jets that same evening.
One Sabre looking to continue his momentum is Ryan Miller. Despite a 2-2 record in his last four starts, Miller sported a .935 save percentage or better in all of those contests, allowing just eight goals on 144 shots during the stretch.
Looking to rebuild momentum is NHL scoring leader Thomas Vanek, who has failed to claim a point in three games straight. Vanek only accounted for seven shots on goal throughout the Sabres’ last three contests.
The Sabres face perhaps their most formidable challenge this afternoon. The Pittsburgh Penguins sit at 4th in the Eastern Conference with 20 points, but are second overall in points for the East, just one point shy of division and conference leader New Jersey.
The Penguins have been stellar in all areas after 15 games this season, holding a top ten or better position for the league in goals scored, goals against, power play and penalty kill percentage. They are sixth overall in the league for scoring with 3.1 goals per game, and their power play has been especially effective at a 27.6% success rate, good for second in the NHL.
Their offense is powered by such familiar stars like captain Sidney Crosby, who currently has 21 points on the season, and left winger James Neal, who has tallied 11 goals in 15 games.
Puck drop is scheduled for 12:30 P.M. from First Niagara Center. Fans can catch the action on NBC or listen in with WGR 550.