|BUF||1||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
|PIT||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- A mostly action-less game between two last-place teams was decided by a couple of odd bounces. For a change, both went Pittsburgh's way.
Konstantin Koltsov, one of the worst shooters on a poor-shooting team, scored early in the third period and the Penguins won consecutive games for only the second time this season, beating the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 Tuesday night.
Koltsov, who had scored on only two of 49 previous shots, took Tomas Surovy's pass while skating across the Sabres' blue line and beat goalie Mika Noronen on a backhander as defenseman Henrik Tallinder tried to push him off the puck.
Koltsov is the Penguins' fastest skater and coach Eddie Olczyk said, "Getting Koltsov the puck in flight, when he gets a step on you, you're not going to catch him."
"But I don't think I played that well," said Koltsov, who began the season skating on the now-injured Mario Lemieux's line. "It was just luck and a few good moments."
Neither team has had much of either this season.
Pittsburgh, coming off a 5-3 victory Saturday over Columbus that stopped a five-game losing streak, hadn't won consecutive games since Oct. 30 (Chicago) and Nov. 1 (Boston). Buffalo dropped its sixth in a row and seventh in eight games and has scored only nine goals in six games.
"It's tough right now," Noronen said. "You see guys squeezing the stick a little harder."
Koltsov's goal at 5:54 of the third came 13 seconds after an ineffective Penguins power play ended and broke a 30-minute scoreless stretch between two of the NHL's four worst-record clubs. Pittsburgh is last in the Atlantic Division and Buffalo is last in the Northeast.
Miroslav Satan's goal midway through the first period gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead, but Penguins goalie Sebastien Caron turned aside the Sabres' other 21 shots.
Brian Holzinger tied it at 1 about three minutes after Satan scored with his second goal in two games, a shot off a Sabres turnover that deflected off the knob of Noronen's stick and trickled into the net. A pass intended for Buffalo's Dmitri Kalinin took an odd deflection off the boards almost directly onto Holzinger's stick.
Caron's best save came in the final 10 seconds when, out of position at the side of the net, he stuck out a leg and arm to turn aside Curtis Brown's shot off Alexei Zhitnik's rebound.
"I didn't have time to think. I was trying to get it up over him because I knew he was down," Brown said. "He stretched out with his hands ... it was a pretty good save. Somehow he recovered and kept it from going in."
The Sabres waited on the ice for about a minute after the game ended -- the game's three stars were being announced -- as the video replay judge reviewed whether Brown's shot crossed the goal line.
"We did some good things," Caron said. "We got the puck down low and we didn't make mistakes. I don't care what people say about us, we played solid and we think we're going to make the playoffs."
Pittsburgh was penalized only once -- Surovy for slashing at 9:03 of the third -- but the Sabres lost the final 30 seconds of the power play when Daniel Briere was called for goaltender interference.
|Miroslav Satan (9) Snap shot - ASST: Curtis Brown (8), Alexei Zhitnik (9)|
1 - 0 BUF
|Brian Holzinger (5) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE|
1 - 1 Tie
|Konstantin Koltsov (3) Wrist shot - ASST: Tomas Surovy (1), Martin Strbak (2)|
2 - 1 PIT
|Daniel Briere Tripping - Obstruction against Aleksey Morozov|
|Dmitri Kalinin Hooking against Matt Bradley|
|Tomas Surovy Slashing against Derek Roy|
|Rory Fitzpatrick Tripping against Ryan Malone|
|Daniel Briere Interference on goalkeeper against Sebastien Caron|