The Pittsburgh Penguins looked lost for a while without the injured Jaromir Jagr. That didn't mean they lost the game.
Jagr's season-long scoring streak ended with a groin injury, but the Penguins got three quick goals in the first period and made them hold up last night to beat the Buffalo Sabres, 3-2, in Pittsburgh.
Jagr, the NHL scoring leader with 33 points in 16 games, left with a strained groin muscle just after the Penguins scored three goals in 3 minutes 4 seconds to chase rookie goaltender Martin Biron.
Jagr missed four games of the Penguins' first-round playoff upset of New Jersey last spring with the same injury. He will be evaluated today, and his status for Thursday's game at Tampa Bay was not immediately known.
"He tried to catch up to Kip Miller on a two-on-one break and he hurt his groin," Penguins Coach Kevin Constantine said. "It was a nice test for our team to lose its captain. He's a big part of our offense, so at least we spotted ourselves some goals."
Jagr's scoring pace of 2.2 points per game is the highest over a sustained stretch since Wayne Gretzky averaged 2.3 over a 25-game span in 1990-91. He had at least one point in each of the Penguins' first 15 games and was on a Gretzky-like pace to score 180 points.
"Jaromir's carried us all year," Constantine said. "Tonight, it was the other 19 guys."
German Titov, Alexei Kovalev and Matthew Barnaby scored for the Penguins, who won their third in a row at home despite being shut out for the final 2 1/2 periods by Sabres backup goaltender Dwayne Roloson.
"This is not a league where you can win very often giving the other team a two- or three-goal lead on the road," Sabres Coach Lindy Ruff said.
COYOTES 2, FLAMES 1: Trevor Letowski ended host Phoenix's power-play drought and Jeremy Roenick also scored for the Coyotes. Bob Essensa made 34 saves to improve to 3-0-1 as Mikhail Shtalenkov's backup. Letowski's goal was the Coyotes' first in 17 chances with the man advantage.
SHARKS 4, CANADIENS 1: Former Montreal captain Vincent Damphousse assisted on Owen Nolan's two goals for visiting San Jose. Damphousse was facing the Canadiens for the first time since he was dealt to San Jose at the trading deadline last season.
KINGS 3, BLACKHAWKS 2: Vladimir Tsyplakov and Bryan Smolinski scored 38 seconds apart in the first period for Los Angeles, which beat Chicago for the 10th consecutive time.