Penguins-Sabres Preview

With one of the league’s stingiest defenses, the Pittsburgh

Penguins have been quite comfortable playing on the road.

The Penguins, however, may have a difficult time making

themselves at home on Sunday when they visit a Buffalo Sabres team

looking to build off a big win.

Although it faced a road-heavy start to the lockout-shortened

schedule, Pittsburgh (10-5-0) has won seven of nine away from home

to move just behind New Jersey for the most points in the Eastern

Conference.

The Penguins rank near the top of the East in goals allowed

(2.33 per game) overall, but they’ve given up among the fewest

(2.00) in the NHL on the road.

Marc-Andre Fleury has been a major catalyst to the road success.

He made 25 saves in a 3-1 win at Winnipeg on Sunday, improving to

4-1-0 with a 1.58 goals-against average in five starts away from

home.

Fleury has enjoyed success against Buffalo lately, winning six

of his last seven starts with a 2.15 GAA and a shutout.

Sidney Crosby should also be happy to see the Sabres. He has

seven goals and 13 assists during a 13-game point streak in the

series, notching at least a point in all 12 career games at

Buffalo.

This time, though, Buffalo (6-8-1) figures to be riding high

following a 4-2 home victory over Northeast Division-leading Boston

on Friday.

Christian Ehrhoff scored the game-winner as the Sabres rallied

for three third-period goals en route to their third win in five

games.

“We got a couple of good shifts in early in the third period,”

Ehrhoff said. “We rode from there, like a snowball effect.”

Although the Sabres are last in the Northeast, they have handed

the rival Bruins their only two losses in regulation.

After totaling 11 goals and 23 points in his first 11 games,

Buffalo’s Thomas Vanek has been held off the scoresheet in his last

three contests. He does have a point in each of his last four games

against Pittsburgh.

Also struggling lately is captain Jason Pominville, held without

a point in five consecutive games after collecting six goals and

eight assists in his first 10.

The Sabres also haven’t gotten much out of the power play,

converting 1 of 30 in over their last eight games.

It’s been a much different story for the Penguins, who have

scored on the power play in seven straight contests. They’ve gone

10 for 27 (37.0 percent) during that stretch, and rank near the top

of the league (27.6) on the season.

James Neal leads the league with seven of his team-best 11 goals

on the power play. He has six goals in his last six games and five

in that same stretch against the Sabres.

Craig Adams scored his first two goals of the season Friday to

key the team’s second straight win.

“If I had more nights like this I would make a better living,”

Adams said.

The Penguins would do well to get off to a fast start, having

won nine of 12 when scoring first. They’ve done so in an NHL-best

12 games, including all nine on the road.

While Buffalo’s Ryan Miller has a 2.01 GAA in his last four

starts, he’s 1-5-0 with a 4.06 mark in his last seven against the

Penguins.

Pittsburgh has won eight of 10 against the Sabres, including

three of four in Buffalo.