Hamhuis scores, notches four assists

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, 1996.

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 four games)."

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 Tarnstrom.

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 up.Game notes
Nashville's power play is 17-of-48 with Sullivan. ...

Nashville has 76 points, topping last season's total of 74. ...

Zidlicky now owns Nashville's single-season record of 45 points by

a defenseman. ... Nashville is a combined 12-4-1-1 against the

Eastern and Atlantic Divisions. ... Erat's goal came only 3{

minutes after he was leveled by Mike Eastwood's hit in the

Penguins' end.