The Pittsburgh Penguins have been bad in the second of back-to-backs. In six previous back-to-backs, the Penguins had only a win against the Central Division cellar-dwelling Chicago Blackhawks (1-4-1) and generally looked fatigued.
Against younger, presumably fresher legs on Saturday, the Penguins should have been in trouble against the emerging Buffalo Sabres.
Instead, Sidney Crosby scored a pair of goals and had three points. Kris Letang surprised everyone by returning to the lineup less than two weeks after a stroke, and Casey DeSmith vacuumed the crease well with a 38-save win.
The Penguins cruised to a 3-1 win over Buffalo at PPG Paints Arena.
Oh, and the Penguins defended very well, too.
Yes, the Penguins. Defense.
Of course, the thing about the Penguins is that they are as good as they need to be or want to be. Nothing should be surprising, though it frequently is, anyway.
“(You) just want to start well, if you can. If I look back to some of them, I think some of those were pretty tough back-to-backs,” Crosby said. “So it’s nice to be at home on the second, second-half run and get a good start, and they pushed back, I thought. But we definitely had some good chances. It’s nice to get a win in a back-to-back.
The score was tight until Crosby’s breakaway goal with 98 seconds remaining, but the game was not as tight. The Penguins controlled nearly every facet.
One night after questioning if the Penguins could handle younger, faster legs, the Penguins provided some insights. The chalkboard has a few answers, too.