Stanley Cup Champs invade Happy Valley
UNIVERSITY PARK – Tonight is the night.
The defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins will invade Happy Valley for a preseason NHL game against the Buffalo Sabres. It is the first preseason game of the year for the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champs. Buffalo opened its season on Monday night against the Carolina Hurricanes.
If you’re a Penguins fan hoping to see some of the team’s stars take the ice at Pegula, you might be a little disappointed. According to a news release from the Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jake Guentzel and Matt Murray won’t be on the ice tonight. The Sabres have not released their roster for tonight’s contest. They were 3-2 losers in overtime against the Hurricanes in their preseason opener.
It is the first time the Penguins have played at University Park. The Sabres played at Pegula last season, a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Minnesota Wild. The Sabres, of course, are owned by Terry and Kim Pegula. The Pegulas contributed $102 million, which helped build Penn State’s arena. As a result, the men’s and women’s ice hockey teams made the move from club sport to varsity status.
This is just the second NHL game in the history of Pegula. The Sabres have appeared in both.
The NHL preseason games may be a barometer of interest for a regular-season game in Happy Valley. For years, there has been talk of a Penguins-Flyers matchup at Beaver Stadium either in a Winter Classic or Stadium Series Game. The game could easily draw more than 100,000 to the venue as outdoor games continue to rise in popularity. Since Pegula had such a big role in creating the “Hockey Valley” atmosphere, he may want his Sabres to be involved in any outdoor game played in State College. The Penguins and Sabres played in the first-ever Winter Classic, which was staged in Buffalo.
Face off for tonight’s game is set for 7 p.m. The game is sold out.