Good periods. Bad ones. It didn’t matter much to the Pittsburgh Penguins during their perfect 15-game run through March. In the end, they always found a way.
April might be a little tougher, particularly without star Sidney Crosby.
Outplayed on both ends of the ice for long stretches by rebuilding Buffalo, Pittsburgh fell 4-1 last night to lose for the first time in more than a month.
“We just didn’t have much of an answer,” defenseman Matt Niskanen said. “Things weren’t going well from the start and we didn’t have a whole lot of a pushback or a whole lot of urgency.”
Pittsburgh was attempting to move within one of the NHL record of 17 consecutive wins set by the 1992-93 Penguins, but looked out of sync without their captain. The Sabres jumped on Pittsburgh early and never really let up to end a four-game winless streak.
Kevin Porter scored his first two goals in more than a year for the Sabres. Steve Ott and Cody Hodgson also beat Pittsburgh’s Tomas Vokoun as the Sabres took a quick three-goal lead and then clamped down on the league’s highest-scoring team.
Ryan Miller made 19 saves on the night he surpassed Dominik Hasek for the most games played by a Sabres goaltender. It wasn’t lost on Miller that his 492nd appearance could also be his final one in a Buffalo uniform. With the Sabres toiling near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, Miller understands he could be traded sometime before this afternoon’s 3 p.m. deadline.
Pittsburgh has already made its big moves, acquiring three veterans — including six-time All-Star Jarome Iginla — last week to bolster a run at a Stanley Cup.
Playing the second game of his career for a team other than Calgary, Iginla scored his first goal with the Penguins, but it wasn’t nearly enough.