Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Depletion of the Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh faces a desperate team tonight in Buffalo as the Sabres are trying to claw their way into a playoff spot in these last few weeks. Their chances are looking pretty good today as it appears that Sidney Crosby, Maxime Talbot and Marian Hossa will all watch the game from the press box. They may also be joined by Petr Sykora who is suffering from back spasms. That's a tremendous amount of firepower watching the game for the Penguins so unless Marc-Andre Fleury can work his magic again it appears that tonight might be a rough one. You never know with this team as they've shown tremendous heart all year long, battled through adversity and have had the right players step up at the right time. As usual, Evgeni Malkin and Fleury will ultimately decide the fact of the team. If they only have good nights, Pittsburgh will most likely be in trouble.

Marian Hossa is practicing and may attempt to play his first full game in a Penguins uniform this weekend when Pittsburgh faces the Philadelphia Flyers, their arch-rival, on Sunday.

Update: I was absolutely, flat out wrong. First off, Ty Conklin started and was good through two periods and terrible in the third. However, it didn't seem to matter as I completely over-estimated the Buffalo Sabres. They were nothing short of a mess against the Penguins. They never stopped playing, which I appreciate, and were able to score three goals in the third but it wasn't nearly enough as the Penguins stomped all over them on their way to a 7-3 victory. Maxim Afinogenov, however, played a remarkable game. He ended up with an assist, 3 shots on goal and a +1 rating which is impressive considering the score. It appears that Buffalo is on their way to missing the playoffs unless a drastic turnaround happens in the next few days.

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