'The 18,000-or-so fans who show up for the game each will be issued a set of brownish foam rubber antlers of the sort normally (!) worn by devotees of the Manitoba Moose.'
'Jagr wouldn't say if he expects to play in Game 4 Wednesday.'
'They returned home last year with just such a lead and a chance to put away the Flyers without going back to Philadelphia, only to lose consecutive overtime games. They wouldn't win another game in the series.'
'It's estimated one playoff date at HSBC Arena brings in $1 million.'
'And hockey fans around Buffalo know the commissioner would never compromise the integrity of the Stanley Cup playoffs.'
Martin Straka, the quiet leader of the Penguins' second line, performed far better in the second game than in the opener, chipping in two assists and going plus-three on the day.
'Buffalo is 0-15 in club history when losing the first two games of a playoff series. Only 17 teams in NHL history have come back from a two-game hole. Only two teams have overcome a 3-0 deficit, and it hasn't happened in more than a quarter century. So you might say that Game Three is particularly vital to their postseason survival. Reality says it does not look promising.'
'"The general feeling is nothing's over," Mario Lemieux said. "It happened last year: we were up two-zip against Philly and they came back and beat us in the series. In the playoffs you're going to face some teams that are very desperate – like the Sabres on Monday. And we have to be ready to face the music every night. If not, we can get beat."'
'What we do know, however, is that the Pens are more than capable of winning without Jagr. In fact, they seem to relish it. They barely missed him after he got hurt in the final period of Game One, and they put together a solid, opportunistic effort in Game Two to take full command of this second-round series.'
'In a hurry, Doug Houda has gone from minor leaguer to precious commodity.'
'This game was a brutal hard hitting affair.'
'"Their defense were kind of running around because we had pressure on them," Ference said. "I was pretty wide-open, just tried to put it to the left-hand side of the net. I ended up flipping the shot, but it went off Patrick's back and in. That's the way you're going to score on a guy like Hasek, is getting those lucky bounces."'
'The hitting picked up on both sides as the game dragged on, and both were cautious while waiting for the other to make a critical mistake. That situation came as the Penguins and Sabres were locked in a 1-1 tie some eight minutes into the third period.'
'In Saturday's Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Buffalo Sabres, the Penguins got some unlikely muscle from Alexei Kovalev and Mario Lemieux to help deliver knockout blows.'