The Pittsburgh Penguins saw their seven-game winning streak come to a close Tuesday night, as the Buffalo Sabres won by the final score of 4-2.
Stopping the Pens original 15-game winning streak on April 2nd in Pittsburgh, the Sabres struck again.
Although this game was meaningless for both teams, the Pens do want to go into the playoffs with the right mindset. And for the Sabres, it gave players a chance to potentially compete for lineup spots next season.
Marc-Andre Fleury was back in net for the Pens and didn’t miss a beat.
Yes, he surrendered three goals, but the second goal came off an own-zone turnover and the game-winner (scored with 2:34 left in the third period) was controversially allowed.
Controversial–because Buffalo forward Steve Ott appeared to have batted the puck out of mid-air above the crossbar. And upon further review, the officials chose not to overturn the call.
It could have gone either way–but regardless–Fleury had himself a solid night.
Stopping 29 of 32 Buffalo shots, Fleury looked sharp for the most part after missing last night’s game against the Ottawa Senators.
On the season he now has a 22-7-0 record, with a 2.35 goals against average and a .917 save percentage.
With the Pens down 2-1 in the third, forward Jarome Iginla was able to rocket a slap shot past Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller on the power play with 8:58 left in the game.
Finding his groove, Iginla has now scored a goal in each of the last four games, and has had five total points during that span.
Unfortunately for Pittsburgh it’d be the last tally they would register Tuesday.
Following Ott’s iffy game-winning goal, the Pens looked as though they were going to score.
That was until defenseman Kris Letang turned the puck over trying to make an up-ice pass with under a minute remaining, which then resulted in an empty-netter for Sabres forward Thomas Vanek.
Pittsburgh has had difficulty playing Buffalo this season–that’s for sure.
Losing two out of three to the Sabres, the Pens only win against them was on February 17th, and they won that game by just a goal.
Still, Pittsburgh has been playing very economical, even while they’re without a handful of their star skaters.
And for now, you can add defenseman Brooks Orpik’s name to that list of injured skaters.
The Pens veteran left the game during the first period of Tuesday’s contest with a lower-body injury, after he went down to block a shot.
Putting aside Orpik’s recent injury, reports suggest the team is getting close to full-health.
Defenseman Paul Martin and Forward James Neal have been cleared to practice with the team, however Neal must pass a baseline cognitive examination before he returns to game action.
Martin has been out since he broke a bone in his hand March 28th and Neal has been sideline since April 5th with a concussion.
There is still no timetable as far as Sidney Crosby is concerned, but stay tuned for updates as he too looks to be close to returning.
The Pens next play the Devils Thursday in New Jersey at 7:30 p.m.