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Opportunistic Sabres halt Penguins' 15-game win streak
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - The Pittsburgh Penguins finally had an injury they couldn't overcome.
With Sidney Crosby out thanks to a fractured jaw, the Penguins had their 15- game win streak broken with a startling 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres at CONSOL Energy Center.
Kevin Porter notched his first two goals of the season to help back a 19-save effort from Ryan Miller that helped deal Pittsburgh its first setback since a 4-1 ousting by Carolina on Feb. 28.
Steve Ott and Cody Hodgson also potted goals for a Buffalo squad that had lost four in a row and is currently buried at the bottom of the Northeast Division.
"Hopefully this is something we carry forward," Miller said of the win.
Pittsburgh had matched the second-longest run in NHL history even with reigning Hart Trophy recipient Evgeni Malkin sidelined for 10 of those triumphs with a concussion and shoulder injury, and both No. 1 goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and defenseman Kris Letang missing multiple games over that stretch as well.
Minus Crosby, out indefinitely after being struck in the mouth by teammate Brooks Orpik's shot during Saturday's 2-0 decision over the New York Islanders, the high-scoring Penguins suffered their first home defeat since Feb. 20.
Pittsburgh also received a subpar outing from netminder Tomas Vokoun, who came in off back-to-back shutouts in the club's two most recent wins. He stopped only 9-of-13 chances before being pulled in favor of Fleury early in the second period, however.
Recently acquired Jarome Iginla provided the Penguins' lone bright spot, with the veteran wing netting his first goal since being acquired from Calgary last week.
The Sabres got a pair of timely goals to put Pittsburgh behind after one period, then dominated the second to extend its lead to a comfortable margin.
A broken stick from Iginla led to Buffalo's first tally, with Porter controlling the loose puck following the Pittsburgh newcomer's botched shot attempt, rushing up the ice and firing a shot past Vokoun with the Sabres shorthanded near the midway mark of the opening period.
The goal was the first allowed by the Penguins in a franchise-record span of 218 minutes, 48 seconds, with the team entering Tuesday's clash having registered three straight shutouts.
Iginla got a measure of redemption on Pittsburgh's next power-play opportunity, knocking home a terrific feed from Chris Kunitz from the left slot with 6:33 left in the frame during a double-minor to Buffalo's Mike Weber.
"At the time it felt good to get my first (goal) as a Penguin...but it's a disappointing feeling now because I know these guys had worked hard at this (win) streak," Iginla said.
Buffalo went back in front not long afterward, though, with Ott taking a drop pass from Jason Pominville in transition and ripping the puck over Vokoun's left shoulder 1:50 prior to the first intermission.
The Sabres then scored twice within a 67-second span early in the second period to put Pittsburgh in an even greater hole.
A hustling Hodgson collected the rebound of his own shot before beating a slow-recovering Vokoun with a wraparound attempt 2:21 into the middle stanza. Vokoun then got the hook after letting a soft shot from Porter that deflected off the skate of Pens defenseman Deryk Engelland squeeze under his pads at the 3:28 mark.
Pittsburgh mounted little of an offensive on Miller the rest of the way, mustering only three shots in the second period and six in the third.
Fleury, making his first appearance in a week, turned aside all 16 shots he faced after replacing Vokoun.
The Penguins had won 12 straight on home ice following a 6-5 loss to Philadelphia on Feb. 20 ... Vokoun had gone a club-record 173 minutes and six seconds without permitting a goal until surrendering Porter's first tally ... Porter's multi-goal effort was the second of his career, having also scored twice against Dallas while with Colorado on Nov. 6, 2011 ... The Sabres now have registered six short-handed goals on the season, second-most in the NHL ... Orpik participated in his 622nd career game, breaking a tie with Ron Stackhouse for the most ever by a Penguins defenseman ... Thomas Vanek, Buffalo's leading scorer, missed a fourth straight game due to an upper-body injury.
04/03 01:11:31 ET
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