Crosby and Eichel come in with slumps

November 14, 2017

Pittsburgh, PA (WGR 550) - Tonight’s game in Pittsburgh features two star players in bad slumps. Jack Eichel hasn’t scored in eight games while Sidney Crosby hasn’t scored in 11. Both players have three assists during their slumps.

Crosby is facing the right team if he wants to break out. In 43 games vs Buffalo, the Penguins captain has 16 goals and 35 assists for 51 points.

Pittsburgh scored four goals in its last game, but still lost to Nashville in a shootout. Before that, they scored just 17 goals in 10 games. The Penguins are 25th in league scoring averaging 2.63 goals per game.

The Sabres average 2.35 goals per game which has them 29th.

Phil Housley has been harping on his team to shoot. They average 31.1 shots per game which is 18th in the league. When Buffalo has more than 30 shots in a game its 5-2-3. When it’s under 30 shots its 0-7-0.

Josh Gorges added a physical element to the game the other night throwing a few hard body checks. Gorges is old school and likes to get his uniform dirty while playing. Gorges flattened Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher on Saturday and was forced to fight Jordie Benn. Gorges was more than willing to accept the challenge and didn’t mind answering for a clean check, “Not at all, I love that fact about hockey, I love that it’s a physical game, guys are there to stick up for their teammates and that’s what separates hockey from other sports, we’re allowed to do that and it just sends a message to your team that you’re there to stick up for each other and I think that’s a great thing about hockey.”

In the five games Gorges has played, he’s been willing to play a physical game. He said, “I’ve got to do what I can to one, help this team win games and two, show that I can stay in the lineup and be someone that can be of some use, so if that means being a little more physical when the opportunity is there, then I’ve got to take advantage of it.”

Justin Bailey has healed from a stubborn groin injury, but he finds himself back in Rochester. Phil Housley said, “He’s been off for a while. He can get his timing back and get some confidence back.”

“I thought he started off really well the first couple of games, but I thought his play dipped a little bit from that, you know that urgency he had on the forecheck, using his speed and even providing a physical element, so he’s going to go down and work on that.”

The Sabres have just two wins in seven games. In five of their last eight games, they’ve scored just one goal.

Buffalo is starting to lose sight of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders hold down the final wildcard spot and are seven points in front of the Sabres.

Robin Lehner is back in goal. He’s allowed just three goals in his last two starts after being pulled in Dallas.

Lehner is 4-6-1 with a 2.90 goals against and .905 save percentage.

He’ll face Matt Murray who hasn’t been as good this season. Murray is 9-4-1 with a 2.90 goals against and .906 save percentage.

Pittsburgh has just three wins in eight games with all but one of those games on the road.

One of the things that has kept Pittsburgh going offensively has been Phil Kessel. The winger has three goals and seven points in his last four games.

Evgeni Malkin has 10 points in eight games.

In last year’s playoff run the Pens got huge contributions from Conor Sheary and Jake Guentzel. Sheary has one goal and two points in eight games while Guentzel just broke out of a streak that saw just two points in 10 games.  

Join Schopp and the Bulldog for the pregame at 6:00 when they’ll be joined by Phil Housley, Josh Gorges and Jason Pominville.