Originally created 12/17/05

Sabres top Penguins in OT



PITTSBURGH - Buffalo's Chris Drury scored on a rebound in overtime and Martin Biron became the first NHL goalie in eight years to win 12 consecutive starts, helping the Sabres ruin Michel Therrien's debut as the Pittsburgh Penguins' coach with a 4-3 victory Friday night.

Drury and Ales Kotalik each had a power-play goal and two assists as the Sabres won their fifth in a row and 13th in 15 games despite allowing Ziggy Palffy's tying goal with 2:17 left in regulation.

Biron stopped 24 shots - a relatively low number given Pittsburgh's seven power plays. The Sabres' eight consecutive road wins are two short of the club record 10 in 1983-84 that set an NHL record and has been matched twice.

Biron's streak is the NHL's longest since New Jersey's Martin Brodeur won 12 in a row in 1997-98.

Penguins defenseman Josef Melichar was late jumping off the bench on a line change and was immediately called for hooking Teppo Numminen 1:01 into overtime, and the Sabres scored the winning goal 36 seconds later. Drury grabbed Daniel Briere's rebound in the lower left circle and put a no-look backhander on net that kicked off goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's right leg pad and trickled across the goal line for Drury's 10th goal.

Even with a new coach and a new defense-first system in place, the Penguins lost their ninth in 10 games and their 24th in 32 games, counting overtime.

The Penguins, 0-14-5 when trailing after two periods, got Palffy's tying goal only after a video replay. Palffy kicked Sidney Crosby's pass to his stick and pushed the puck toward the net, but the red light did not go on as Biron sprawled across the goal line and stuck out his glove to grab the puck.

Palffy was given the goal after two TV replays appeared to show Biron catching the puck beyond the goal line.

Palffy returned after missing four games and most of a fifth with a sore groin, and was immediately put by Therrien on the top line with Crosby and Mario Lemieux, who also returned after sitting out four games with an irregular heartbeat that hospitalized him briefly.

Lemieux nearly scored in the first minute on a breakaway - in what would have been the perfect start to Therrien's career in Pittsburgh - but Biron made the save.

Kotalik had put Buffalo up 3-2 late in the second in a game in which all but two goals - by Palffy and Buffalo's Jochen Hecht - came on the power play.

Buffalo was 3-of-8 and Pittsburgh 2-of-7 on the power play as the Penguins couldn't generate much offense except with the man advantage, even while playing with more intensity and a greater attention to detail than they did while losing eight of its final nine under former coach Eddie Olczyk. The Penguins scored only one goal combined in their final three losses under Olczyk.

But while Therrien had to like the Penguins' improved play on defense, he couldn't have liked all the penalties - three on Shane Endicott, one leading to Kotalik's goal, and two on Dick Tarnstrom.

Notes: The Sabres are 6-1 in overtime and the Penguins are 3-7.... The Sabres are 3-0 against the Penguins, with the teams meeting again Saturday afternoon in Buffalo.... Drury has seven goals and eight assists during Buffalo's 13-1-1 stretch.