PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins will be looking to extend their winning streak to 16 games when they play host to the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night at CONSOL Energy Center.
However, they will have to do it without the services of captain Sidney Crosby, who suffered a broken jaw after a shot by Brooks Orpik struck him in the face on Saturday.
Crosby will be out of the lineup for an indefinite amount of time, but they are also currently without Kris Letang (broken toe) and Paul Martin (hand surgery).
Letang could be back sooner rather than later, while Martin is out 4 to 6 weeks.
Despite the injuries and seeing Chris Kunitz tossed for a hit from behind on Saturday, the Penguins managed to find a way to beat the Islanders 2-0.
Their 15-game winning streak is tied for the second longest streak in NHL history and is just two shy of the league record the Penguins already own.
As for their opponent tonight, the Sabres have had a rough go of it this season.
Buffalo is currently in the basement of the Northeast Division – 12 points behind Toronto and Ottawa. Overall, they are 13th in the Eastern Conference, but are only five points out of a playoff spot.
However, the Sabres appear to be sellers as Wednesday’s NHL Trade Deadline approaches. On Monday, the team sent Robyn Regehr to the Los Angeles Kings for a second-round draft pick in 2014 and 2015.
Thomas Vanek leads the team with 16 goals and 33 points, but Cody Hodgson is right behind him with 28 points (12 goals, 16 assists).
In goal, Ryan Miller (11-15-5, 2.89 GAA, .911 save percentage) has had a tough time this season as well and it might not get better tonight.
Against the Penguins, Miller is 5-11-3 with a 3.44 GAA and a .881 save percentage In their only meeting this season, Miller allowed four goals on 35 shots in a 4-3 loss on Feb. 17.
As for Pittsburgh, Tyler Kennedy filled in on the top lone between Pascal Dupuis and Kunitz at practice on Monday.
Kennedy has struggled to get his offensive game on track and enters tonight’s game with just five goals and four assists in 35 games.
The second line remained intact with newly-acquired Jarome Iginla playing with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal.
As a team, the Penguins have three straight shutouts. Tomas Vokoun came in in relief of Marc-Andre Fleury during a 1-0 win over the Canadiens on March 26. Fleury had to leave the game after Kennedy crashed into him late in the second period.
Vokoun (10-3-0, 2.33 GAA, .922 save percentage) preserved the shutout and went on to white wash the Jets and Islanders over the last two games. His shutout streak of 162:42 is a franchise record and personal best.
The Penguins play again tomorrow against the New York Rangers, so it would seem likely that Vokoun could be back between the pipes tonight.
Against the Sabres, Vokoun is 8-10-1 with a 2.66 GAA and a .915 save percentage.
The puck is set to drop at 7:30 p.m. and you can watch the game on Root Sports or the NBC Sports Network.
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