Pittsburgh Penguins’ Penalty Kill Back on Track

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins (37-14-2) hosted the Buffalo Sabres (14-30-7) on Monday night at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh for the second of three meetings scheduled between the clubs during the 2013-14 season. The Penguins would go on to defeat the Sabres by a score of 3-0 in the contest. On a game with a couple sub-plots, most notably the Ryan Miller trade rumors, the Penguins avoided very much excitement and took care of business quietly.

A large amount of the credit for this victory goes to the league-leading Penguins’ penalty kill (87.58 percent), that finds itself getting back on track after a somewhat disappointing January. The Pens’ penalty killing unit was tasked once each period this evening — in the first period due to a Tanner Glass high-sticking penalty, in the second from a Jayson Megna high-sticking call and finally midway through the third when Chris Kunitz took a slashing penalty.

The Penguins’ special team effort on the PK posted an 84.4 percent success rate in January, though, it did manage to give up two multi-goal games, leading to losses to the Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers. It’s difficult to criticize who’s been the best crew in all of hockey on the season for a couple games that are easily considered to be outliers when you consider the season’s performance overall, but, at the same time, you must. This team underachieved in the playoffs last year considering the team that the Penguins’ front office put together, so it’s quite understandable for many to be a bit anxious for this team to live up to it’s potential. The Penguins do not want to see a repeat of the Boston Bruins‘ series that ended the Penguins 2013 season.

Game Notes:

- Ryan Miller faced 31 shots overall and was peppered with 15 and 10 shots in the first and second periods alone, respectively.

- This was Evgeni Malkin‘s 500th career game in the NHL.

- Penguins center Sidney Crosby extended his consecutive game point-scoring streak to 16 games with two assists tonight.

- Pittsburgh goal-scorers were Kunitz (26, one behind Crosby for the team lead), Deryk Engelland (four) and Tanner Glass (three-EN).

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