Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller did his part tonight by stopping 31 of 33 shots against the offensively gifted Pittsburgh Penguins, but his teammates couldn’t help him out. The Sabres fired 24 shots on goal against Marc-Andre Fleury and the Penguins’ netminder turned them all aside in a 3-0 win on Monday.
The Penguins outshot the Sabres 15-5 in the first period, but this game was still scoreless through 20 minutes. It wasn’t until the Penguins were given the opportunity to gang up on Miller for a sustained period of time that Chris Kunitz finally broke the tie.
Although Deryk Engelland provided the Penguins with some extra breathing room and Tanner Glass later sealed the deal with an empty-net goal, Kunitz’s marker proved to be enough for Fleury tonight. It was his fourth shutout of the season and Fleury is now just one victory away from becoming the first goalie to reach the 30-win milestone in 2013-14.
Buffalo is the second team in the league to lose 30 games in regulation and remains dead-last in the NHL with 35 points. Meanwhile the Penguins improved to 37-14-2 and have surpassed the 75-point mark before any other team in the Metropolitan Division reached 60.
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It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.