Without Ryan Whitney in the lineup Tuesday night, the Penguins' power play fizzled.
And, without a potent power play, the Penguins fell to the Buffalo Sabres, 4-1, at Mellon Arena.
"It was just a bad night for us. I guess those things happen through the course of a season. They don't happen to us often," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "You have to give credit to the Sabres. They were hungrier than us and they outworked us. We just have to move on. It's just a matter of how we're going to react. Usually, we have showed that we care and are able to bounce back after a performance like this. It didn't happen a lot to us this year, but most of the time we've been able to bounce back."
Whitney, held out of the lineup for precautionary reasons to rest a sore groin, is one of the staples of the Penguins' first power-play unit and the Penguins' fifth-leading scorer. His absence was felt in the lineup as Pittsburgh failed to convert on all eight of its power-play chances.
"He has some quality ice time. There's no doubt, he was not healthy enough to play and it was a huge risk for him to play," Therrien said. "He should be ready for the next game. There's a chance he will play. You don't take a Ryan Whitney out of our lineup and not have an effect and yes we were affected.
"I think the power play could have given us some momentum. We didn't have any momentum there."
Dmitri Kalinin got Buffalo on the scoreboard with 9:01 left in the first period.
Mark Recchi banged home a rebound with 7:59 remaining in the period. Jordan Staal's hard wrister deflected off Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller and popped in the air to his right. Recchi, crashing the net near the far post, deflected the puck into the net. Ryan Malone added an assist on the play.
Derek Roy flipped in a rebound 2:10 into the second period for a 2-1 Buffalo lead.
Tomas Vanek found the back of the net 4:31 into the third period for a 3-1 Sabres advantage.Jason Pominville capped the scoring 1:08 later for a 4-1 Buffalo margin.
ICE CHIPS: Nathan Paetsch and Clarke MacArthur were the Sabres' scratches...Joel Kwiatkowski, Ryan Whitney, Chris Thorburn, Ronald Petrovicky and Nils Ekman were the Penguins' scratches...The announced attendance was 17,132...The game's three stars were Tomas Vanek (No. 1), Daniel Briere (No. 2) and Jochen Hecht (No. 3).