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Penguins Slumber Through Buffalo, Lose in Shootout 4-3

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Pittsburgh Penguins shootout win, Buffalo Sabres 4-3

The Buffalo Sabres had a one-goal lead three times, and three times the Pittsburgh Penguins did just enough to keep the game in reach and get the tying goal. Despite being outshot 32-24, the Penguins forced overtime and a shootout, but only got one point.

Towering Buffalo forward Tage Thompson has two goals in regulation and scored in the shootout. Alex Tuch finished it on the third shootout attempt. Buffalo beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in a shootout at KeyBank Arena on Wednesday.

It took the Penguins about 50 minutes to find their better game. After a couple of snoozing periods and missed opportunities, the Penguins finally answered the bell later in the third period.

In the first 61 seconds of the third period, Thompson scored his second goal of the game when both Brian Boyle and Chad Ruhwedel chased the puck behind the Penguins’ net. Thompson (27) was uncovered for the point-blank goal.

“You don’t want to use it as any sort of excuse, but I think playing back to backs, it is never easy. I mean, you have to give them credit, too. They played a good uptempo game and made it tough for us to get any sustained offense against them,” Mike Matheson said. “We didn’t really generate a lot of time in their zone, it seemed like we were in our zone a lot throughout the game. So it’s never an easy way to win games.”

After slumbering through much of the final period, and most of the 60-minute game, the Penguins forced overtime with a late third-period power-play goal, and it was chalkboard perfection. After an offensive zone faceoff win, the Penguins quickly worked the puck around the perimeter. The fourth of four quick passes settled on defenseman Kris Letang’s stick. Letang (7) snapped a shot past Buffalo goalie Craig Anderson.

The Penguins eased into the first period. Playing the second of back-to-back games, they weren’t expending maximum energy. A late push closed the shot gap, but neither Buffalo nor the Penguins lit up the score sheet.

Later in the first period, Buffalo forward Tage Thompson scored the only goal of the period. The Penguins collapsed deep into the defensive zone, and the 6-foot-7 Thompson (26) stepped inside the right-wing dot to rip a shot over Penguins goalie Casey DeSmith.

“…Especially their top line off with Thompson and (Alex) Tuch. They’re quick. They’re good, long sticks with a lot of speed that they can get in there and disrupt plays. And they’re good at reading things and reading what you’re trying to execute on your breakouts. And so it can be difficult when teams are doing that,” Matheson said.

Sidney Crosby scored the first Penguins goal. In the opening minute of the second period, Crosby finished the Penguins’ power play on the rush with a wrister from the slot that whizzed through Anderson.

Anderson, who recently won his 300th career game, wasn’t heavily tested in the second period. After a slow first period in which the Penguins snapped just nine shots, they sent only eight towards the 40-year-old Anderson in the second.

Trailing 2-1, Evgeni Malkin scored without a legitimate shot on the net. From below the goal line, Malkin (13) shoveled the puck towards the net, off of defenseman Henri Jokiharju, and past Anderson.

Buffalo took a 2-1 lead later in the second period. After pinning the Penguins in the defensive zone for what seemed like an eternity or two TNT intermission shows, Buffalo got a fourth-line goal from Zemgus Girgensons (8). The Penguins chased the puck in the zone without being able to settle the puck or begin a breakout, and Girgensons fired the loose puck from the slot past DeSmith.

DeSmith did well to stop 21 of 23 shots through two periods. He made 30 saves on 33 shots, overall. Two Buffalo players led all players with four shots in regulation: Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin.

Buffalo also had six takeaways in the first two periods, compared to just two Penguins steals.

Buffalo had won four of their previous five games. The Pittsburgh Penguins had won five of their previous six. The Penguins have points in 16 of their last 17 visits to Buffalo (13-1-2) dating back to March 30, 2012.

Newly acquired Penguins winger Rickard Rakell not only played with third-line center Jeff Carter, but also flipped to the right wing to play with Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel for several shifts in the second period.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Jason.C
Jason.C
8 months ago

DeSmith is brutal in Shootouts I thought I was watching Murray again get burned gloves side twice he is way to deep in the paint! and the team played sloppy. Very frustrating and mostly boring game I seen in awhile.

Last edited 8 months ago by JcNorthStar
DaGama
DaGama
8 months ago
Reply to  Jason.C

Pens shoot-out shooters weren’t exactly on fire themselves.

Jeff Young
Jeff Young
8 months ago

Rakell in OT worth what we gave up for him. Also, DeSmith looks *tiny* in net!

Jason.C
Jason.C
8 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Young

Rakell should have been in Shootout he is 4 for 4 this year in them huge miss by Sully. And yes Rakell is worth what they gave up he has very little rest and 0 practices withe the team. Need to give him some time. He had some flashes in the game that could Have been goals in OT just lack of chemistry and fatigue.

Paul
Paul
8 months ago

The good news is, there are no shootouts in the playoffs. Jarry + DeSmith = serious suckage.

DaGama
DaGama
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Yep, we were seriously spoiled with MAF.

Uros
Uros
8 months ago

I was under the impression DeSmith won us a point. If you want to you can blame him for the shootout, but he’s the reason there was one to begin with. However, I still don’t feel confident that we can go to him in the playoffs and hope that hockey gods will keep Jarry injury free when the time comes.

Wasnt
8 months ago
Reply to  Uros

Couldn’t agree more and also Kap looked like crap and it would of been awesome if Rakell scored the sweet breakaway in OT.

D1VE is Dumb
D1VE is Dumb
8 months ago
Reply to  Uros

Hopefully they put DeSmith on IR for a week with a bruised ego and now that Domingue is all healed up he gets another chance to steal the job from DeSmith.

Dave Heyl
Dave Heyl
8 months ago

Tox said it best Pens greatest weakness is obvious no one to clear the front of the net!

Toby
Toby
8 months ago

This wouldn’t have happened if we still had Simone

Tom
Tom
8 months ago

They did nothing at the trade deadline to toughen up the defense like they said they needed! The playoffs could be brutal.

D1VE is Dumb
D1VE is Dumb
8 months ago
Reply to  Tom

He is injured right now, but you must have missed the trade for Beaulieu…