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In their first full game without NHL points leader Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins failed to move the puck or find the back of the net on a consistent basis. Even though new acquisition Jarome Iginla netted his first goal as a Penguin, Pittsburgh had no answer for Buffalo’s offensive onslaught.
So how did it all transpire?
The Penguins streak ends at 15. What. A. Run.
— ESPN (@espn) April 3, 2013
To put it simply, Buffalo brought the power with its unsung heroes.
The Sabres struck early, scoring at the 9:36 mark to take a 1-0 lead. Kevin Porter took it unassisted, putting up a shorthanded goal to offset the Pittsburgh Penguins power play. That marked his first goal of the season.
During a Pittsburgh power play, its stars pushed the puck into Buffalo’s zone. Iginla scored a little over three minutes after Porter’s tally with help from Chris Kunitz and Evgeni Malkin.
Suddenly, it was 1-1 and the streak appeared to be intact.
Knowing how powerful the Pittsburgh Penguins offense is, the Sabres wasted no time in taking control of the game. With just under two minutes remaining in the first period, Adam Pardy and Jason Pominville found Steve Ott for his sixth goal of the season.
Suddenly, it was 2-1 and the Sabres appeared to be on the brink of an upset.
Ryan Miller wouldn’t let the Pittsburgh Penguins do anything from the first period on, holding them scoreless during the final two periods. In the middle frame, Cody Hodgson scored to put the Sabres up 3-1. Pominville picked up his second assist of the evening, and Mark Pysyk had a helper as well.
Just over one minute later, Porter scored his second goal of the game to cap off a career night.
That was all of the support Miller would need, as he snapped Pittsburgh’s 15-game winning streak with a masterful goaltending performance. He stopped 19 of 20 shots and kept Pittsburgh’s first-ranked scoring offense in check.
Even still, the Pittsburgh Penguins maintain their grip on the best record in the Eastern Conference. At 56 points, they’re just one behind the Chicago Blackhawks for the most in the NHL.
The question is, can Pittsburgh survive without Crosby?