the rest of the season. They won. Impressively. They played an entire
60 minutes of hockey. They played offense, they played defense, the
goaltending was on. The game was actually a pleasure to watch.
If it wasn't for the goaltending of Tom(Is that his first name?)Draper,
the score could have been a lot higher. He played well, but was basically
abandoned by the Sabres. Draper had to face 4 breakaways, and he shut down
2 of them. He stopped Stevens' and one of Jagr's.
The first period was a evenly played period, with both goalies exhibiting
solid play in the net.
The second was a different story. Larry Murphy (Errey, Mullen) scored at 1:12
of the second. He whipped a shot from near the top of the left faceoff
circle that got the inside of the post, rolled all the way around the bottom
of the net and shot out the other side. From this point on, the Pens were
able to control the tempo of the play. They were also continually able to
get behind the Sabres' defense. (Draper had it tough. He was barely getting
any defensive support.) The second goal came at 6:20. A few minutes earlier,
Draper had stopped a breakaway attempt by Kevin Stevens. But he couldn't
stop Jaromir Jagr. Taking a nice pass from Trottier, Jagr broke along the
right boards and moved to center. He made Draper commit to coming out of the
net, and swung to Draper's left. Draper threw himself down to try to stop the
shot, but Jagr put it softly around Draper's outstretched hands.
I guess Mario felt that he couldn't be outdone by the Kid :-), so he had a
breakaway of his own. Kevin Stevens made a nice defensive play to intercept
a Sabres pass in the Pens end. He feed the pass to Rick Tocchet (who has
really added some much needed aggression to the Pens), who just laid the puck
right on a breaking Lemieux's stick. Lemieux came down the left, and moved
towards center. Draper again commited himself to a center shot. Lemieux moved
back to the left, and put the puck behind Draper.(10:02)
The Sabres' got on the board when Dale Hawerchuk, using Larry Murphy as a
screen, shot from about the center of the left faceoff circle and put a
shot past Barrasso on the far side. (Now, some people groaned at this
point. They thought this was a easy long-range stoppable shot that Barrasso
usually misses. But it wasn't a lame shot. It was a good, solid goal by
Hawerchuk: Andreychuk 13:14)
In the 3rd period, Joey Mullen had to have scored what was the best goal of
the game. (I love that guy. I'm so glad Badger Bob convinced Craig Patrick
to get him.) At 14:04, Joey picked off a pass at center ice. He made a
beeline down center, and would not be denied. Three Sabres stood in his way,
and he blew past all 3. He was right in front of Draper when he shot and
scored(unassisted). That has got to be the best Pens goals I've seen all
But the Sabres weren't finished. At 14:38 Alexander Mogilny(Andreychuk, Wells)
took a shot that bounced off some part of Ulf Samuelsson's anatomy, and into
the net past Barrasso. None of the players on the ice seemed to realize it
went in until the goal light came on.
Lemieux wasn't finished either. Playing one of his best games in a long
time (He had a lot of leg strength. He was really moving well.), he scored
when he beat a screened Draper on the glove side at 16:54(Jagr, Errey.)
Speaking of Errey, it was up to he and Phil Bourque to shadow Pat LaFontaine
the entire game. They did their job well, holding LaFontaine scoreless.
Hopefully, the solid play shown by the Pens is a sign of good things to
come. But I not holding my breath over it. It will take a string of games
like this to prove to me they've changed their lazy ways.
Shots: Pgh: 12-14-11: 37 Buffalo: 8-8-8: 24
Scratches: Wendell Young, Frank Pietrangelo, Peter Taglianetti, Shawn McEachran
Jeff Chychrun, Jamie Leach, Jiri Hrdina, Grant Jennings (dislocated finger).
The Pens left for Calgary yesterday, via Dallas. The Pens were able to save
money by routing through Dallas. Total travel time: 9 hours. They will
practice in Dallas today, and then fly out to Calgary for tomorrow night's
The Pens are taking 27 players on this trip. Only Troy Loney is back in Pgh.
That's because his wife Aafke is expecting at any moment.
GM Craig Patrick made the trip, fueling speculation that a trade is possible
on this trip. Which would explain why so many players went along.
Contact for the Penguins