PITTSBURGH (AP) _ A streaking power-play unit faced the NHL's worst
penalty-killing team, with predictable results: A 16th consecutive Pittsburgh
Penguins home game without a victory.
Rookie defenseman Dan Hamhuis scored a goal during a five-point night and
the Nashville Predators quickly built a five-goal lead in a 9-4 victory
Thursday, leaving the Penguins one loss or tie from matching the league record
for the longest home winless streak.
Pittsburgh is 0-15-1 at home since Dec. 29. The Ottawa Senators went 0-15-2
during their record 17-game winless streak from Oct. 28, 1995, through Jan. 27,
The Predators, trying to hang onto one of the Western Conference's final two
playoff spots, exploited the league's worst penalty-killing unit by scoring a
team-record six power-play goals _ including their first three goals.
The six power-play goals allowed set a Penguins record, topping the five
they gave up four times previously, the last in 1989.
``It's funny how it kept going in and in and in,'' Hamhuis said. ``It's one
of those nights when things are going your way. It's funny when it happens
because it doesn't happen very often.''
The Penguins rallied from deficits of 5-0 and 6-1 to cut Nashville's lead to
6-4 midway through the third on Dick Tarnstrom's goal, but David Legwand scored
his 15th of the season less than a minute later to start a burst of three
Nashville goals in the final eight minutes.
Adam Hall scored two of the Predators' four goals in the third period.
Hamhuis, the NHL leader in rookie ice time, had a goal and four assists after
never getting more than two points previously in an NHL game.
``For me, it's pretty surprising because I never really think about getting
points,'' Hamhuis said.
Steve Sullivan added a power-play goal and two assists and now has seven
goals and nine assists in nine games since being traded by Chicago. The
Predators are 6-2-1 with Sullivan and have twice scored five or more power-play
goals with him, getting five in a 7-3 victory over San Jose on Feb. 18. That
previously was the club record for power-play goals in a game.
Nashville has 17 power-play goals in its last nine games. Pittsburgh has
allowed 76 goals on 310 power plays, a league-worst 75.5 percent success rate
in killing penalties.
Penguins rookie goalie Andy Chiodo had been 2-3-1 since being called up from
the minors, but had by far his worst NHL start by yielding power-play goals to
Marek Zidlicky, Martin Erat, Andrew Hutchinson and an even-strength goal by
Jordin Tootoo in the first 16:12.
Tootoo, the first person of Inuit descent to play in the NHL, joked
afterward he should have a big night in the arena known as the Igloo. Tootoo
twice drew penalties that led to power-play goals and was chosen as the game's
No. 3 star behind Hamhuis and Sullivan.
``Yesterday when we were driving, I said, `Hey, I don't think there's ever
been a true Inuit who has played in the Igloo,''' Tootoo said. ``It's obviously
very enjoyable and I can't wait to come back here again.''
The Penguins probably aren't as eager to keep playing in an arena where they
haven't won since last year.
``We're young and we're stupid,'' defenseman Josef Melichar said. ``We
didn't have the start we wanted. Our PK wasn't ready at all. We just weren't as
sharp as we had been (in getting at least one point in three of their previous
For Nashville, it was a reversal of the night before, when the Predators
fell behind Philadelphia 4-0 in a 5-2 loss.
Hamhuis made it 5-0 early in the second period before Pittsburgh tried to
get back into it with goals by Milan Kraft, Josef Melichar, Landon Wilson and
About a minute after the game ended, the teams traded pushes, shoves and a
few punches as they tried to leave the ice, but the skirmish was quickly broken