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Insider Only Penguins high-end talent toyed with ‘AHL’ Sabres

Penguins 4Sabres 0

While Tristan Jarry posted a 34-save shutout and was locked in all night, the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night toyed with the Buffalo Sabres in a 4-0 win in the first game of a home-and-home situation.

Pittsburgh’s high-end talent made the Sabres as a whole look like the Penguins were playing a scrimmage game against an AHL team.

The Arizona Coyotes get labeled as the ‘AHL’ Coyotes by some and it might be time to stamp the same label on the Sabres.

“It’s quite embarrassing,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said of the Sabres who have lost 10 of 11 and are a team that looks like a train-wreck in their own end. “We’re playing a backup goaltender  and we didn’t take advantage of that tonight.”

With how quickly Terry Pegula fires coaches and executives, Jason Botterill and Phil Housley might not make it to Christmas.

Sarcasm aside, Buffalo is becoming a situation similar to Arizona where a losing culture is just starting to fester into everything they do on the ice, where at the first sign of adversity they implode.

Dan Bylsma was going to get fired last summer even if former GM Tim Murray stayed on-board because of how much he alienated the young players, but the Sabres disastrous play shows they’ve got issues beyond coaching.

Despite the opponent and how bad of a club Buffalo is, it doesn’t take away how good the Penguins were and it was a game where you throw out the advanced stats as the Penguins were a meager 45% in driving possession during 5 vs 5 play.

Pittsburgh’s top guns were spectacular in the win.

Jake Guentzel scored his team-leading 12th goal and the hockey IQ combined with the skill set for a second year pro continues to amaze…….. Sidney Crosby had a goal/assist and was great as he’s creeping up the points leaderboard, now 10 point behind Steven Stamkos (37 points)…….. while Conor Sheary and Patric Hornqvist had very strong games.

The Penguins over the last three games are back to being the high-flying Penguins and have scored 14 goals during that span but in reality not much have changed.

Pittsburgh’s high-end talent is just putting the puck in the net at a higher rate.

Over Pittsburgh’s last three games, 13 of the 14 goals have come from the group of Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Bryan Rust, Patric Hornqvist and Jake Guentzel.

Bryan Rust (SHG)
Phil Kessel (PP)
Sidney Crosby (PP)
Phil Kessel
Sidney Crosby (PP)
Jake Guentzel
Patric Hornqvist (PP)
Bryan Rust
Jake Guentzel
Sidney Crosby (OT)
Tom Kuhnhackl (penalty shot)
Sidney Crosby
Jake Guentzel
Patric Hornqvist

Excluding empty net goals, Pittsburgh in their last 20 games still have only three goals scored (Greg McKegg, Carter Rowney, Tom Kuhnhackl) outside of their top-7 forwards (Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin/Phil Kessel/Jake Guentzel/Patric Hornqvist/Conor Sheary/Bryan Rust).

The high flying Penguins are back this week but the depth scoring is still non-existent and that is unlikely to change until some personnel moves are made. Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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