For the month of March, the Penguins couldn't lose.
For more than three weeks, opponents couldn't manage more than two goals, if they could get one at all.
But several of the team's streaks came to a screeching halt Tuesday night in a 4-1 loss against the Buffalo Sabres at Consol Energy Center.
Gone is the winning streak, at 15.
Gone is the team's record shutout streak, at 218 minutes, 48 seconds.
Gone is goaltender Tomas Vokoun's personal- and franchise-best shutout streak, at 173:06.
In fact, Vokoun was gone before the midpoint of the second period, pulled for Marc-Andre Fleury after the Sabres built a 4-1 lead in what was the final game of the Penguins' five-game homestand -- longest this season.
Their 15-game streak was tied for second longest in NHL history.
The 1992-93 Penguins' run of 17 wins in a row stands safe as the league record.
"We had that 17-game mark that we were so close to getting. It's disappointing to lose," said Fleury, who stopped all 16 shots he faced and said he felt good physically in his first appearance since he left a game a week earlier because of a neck injury.
Special teams helped to decide this one.
The Penguins gave up a short-handed goal and scored a power-play goal. That could be considered a wash, but it was the minutes that were eaten up subsequently while they killed all five Sabres man-advantages that thwarted a comeback.
"The penalty kill can give you momentum, but, when you have several in a row, it can kind of drain you," Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen said. "You lose a little steam, and it's tough to get some offense going.
"That's one aspect, but, all in all, we just weren't very good. The execution was poor. Battle level was poor."
It was the Penguins' first game since center and team captain Sidney Crosby had surgery for a broken jaw over the weekend.
Buffalo also was without its leading scorer as winger Thomas Vanek missed his third game in a row because of an unspecified injury.
It was the 141st game Crosby has missed in his career. The Penguins are 81-44-16 without him and are expected to be without him again tonight for a game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Kevin Porter gave the Sabres a 1-0 lead at 10:24 of the first period on a short-handed goal when he got a gift from Niskanen.
Niskanen, in his own end, left a drop pass. Jarome Iginla wasn't there to get it because his stick had broken and he was headed to the bench for a new one. The puck glanced off of Buffalo's Jason Pominville before Porter grabbed it and scored from the upper right hash mark.
"I knew Iginla's stick was broken," Niskanen said. "Just a bad play.
"I thought [Evgeni Malkin] was going that way, and he wasn't. Not a good time to do a behind-the-back thing, and the guy capitalized. Bad play by me."
That ended the Penguins' shutout streak at 218:48 and ended Vokoun's personal-best shutout streak at 173:06, also is a franchise record.
On the same Penguins power play -- four minutes long because of a double minor to Buffalo's Mike Weber -- Iginla got that goal back.
He tapped in a pass through the crease from Chris Kunitz to tie it, 1-1, at 13:27 of the first period. It was Iginla's 526th career goal and 10th of the season but his first as a Penguins player.
The Penguins acquired for former Calgary captain last week in a trade.
Malkin fished the puck out of the net as a souvenir for Iginla.
"At the time, it felt really good," Iginla said. "That was a great pass. A lot of patience, and it gave me pretty much a wide-open net
"Now [after the game], it doesn't feel as good. It's a loss and the end of the streak."
Steve Ott put Buffalo back in front, 2-1, at 18:10 of the first period. He took a drop pass from Pominville and scored on a slap shot from the top of the left circle, giving him points in six games in a row against the Penguins.
The Sabres got goals 1:07 apart in the second period to get some separation.
Cody Hodgson got a rebound, carried the puck behind the Penguins net and scored on a wraparound to make it 3-1 at 2:21.
Porter's second goal of the game made it 4-1 at 3:28 when his severe-angle shot from the left side hit the skate of the Penguins' Deryk Engelland, then went in off the left pad of Vokoun.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma pulled Vokoun and replaced him with Fleury.
"I thought he was solid coming in," Bylsma said.
But the Penguins, who had given up two goals or fewer in their previous 11 games, had given up four in less than 24 minutes.
To that point, Buffalo had not had a power play. The Penguins gave the Sabres five before the end of the game.
"We got ourselves into penalty trouble," Iginla said.
"The [penalty killing] was really good. We had our chances early in the power [play], and then it was all [penalty killing].
"I think the guys would say we weren't as good as we can be or as they have been over the course of the 15-game winning streak."
For more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Shelly Anderson: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @pgshelly. First Published April 3, 2013 4:45 AM