Pens lose in Buffalo, look to rebound against Devils

In a reverse of what has seemingly become Pittsburgh’s trademark this season, the Penguins lost 4-3 after a 3-2 advantage going in to the third period.

The Sabres’ Drew Stafford and Paul Gaustad each tallied goals in the final frame to push Buffalo to the win.  Gaustad netted the game-winner at the 16:36 mark and was a product of constant pressure in front of the Penguins’ rookie goaltender John Curry.

The third period was seeminlgy dominated by the Sabres from the start, with constant pressure in the Penguins’ defensive end.  Buffalo caused a lot of confusion in front of the net and it paid off when Gaustad rushed the net and ended up poking the puck through Curry’s pads after a save on the initial shot.

Pittsburgh has noe lost two of its last three games, and three of its last five.  The Pens play again tonight against New Jersey at home with hopes of reversing their current fortune.

Dany Sabourin is likely the starter in net after Curry’s start last night, accompanied by the familiar lineup of the last couple of weeks.  Janne Pesonen is projected to play once again after his first start since Nov. 1 last night in Buffalo.

Pesonen played just 10 shifts in last night’s game, registering over six minutes of ice time.

The top story line following the Devils is veteran goaltender Martin Brodeur.  He suffered a tear in his bicep and had surgery, leaving him out indefinitely.

Over the long run since the injury, the Devils have fared rather well.  They currently sit just three points behind the Pens with 26 points and are 6-4-0 in their last 10 games.

Scott Clemmensen and Kevin Weekes have shared time at goaltender, but Clemmensen has started to impress and earn more time.  In his seven games played, he is 4-2-0 with a 2.48 GAA and .917 SV%.

In his last game, a 3-2 OT win at Florida, Clemmensen allowed only two goals on 38 shots.  A game against the Penguins’ offense will be a good guage at how good this goalie really is.

The stars have been turning it on lately for Pittsburgh.

Sidney Crosby has resgistered eight points (4 goals + 4 assists) in his last four games.  Accordingly, Evgeni Malkin, the NHL’s leading scorer with 37 points, has six points (3 goals +3 assists) in his last two games, including a hat trick in a come-from-behind 5-3 victory against the Islanders on Wednesday.

But don’t overlook New Jersey’s offense.  It is much improved from last year and is led by Zach Parise with 25 points (13 goals + 12 assists).

Game Notes:

  • New Jersey beat the Penguins last time the two teams played on an overtime goal by Zach Parise.
  • The Penguins are 4-0-2 against Atlantic Division opponents this year.
  • New Jersey goaltender Scott Clemmensen has started in three of the Devils’ last four games, all wins.
  • Devils’ forward John Madden is a game time decision.
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