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
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
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
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
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.