PITTSBURGH, Dec. 26 -- Martin Biron may have been the Buffalo Sabres' first-round draft pick this year, but he was probably the last goaltender on their minds earlier this month. However, two-time Vezina Trophy winner Dominik Hasek is nursing an abdominal strain and backup Andrei Trefilov sprained a medial collateral ligament in his left knee Saturday. So, the 18-year-old Biron was thrown into the fire Tuesday night, where he made his NHL debut and was torched for four first-period goals in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 6-3 victory. Biron's difficult task was made tougher because the league's highest scoring team was suddenly hungry for goals after scoring twice in two games in recent back-to-back losses to the Montreal Canadiens. Biron, the 16th overall selection in 1995, suffered through a rocky first period and was pulled to start the second. Biron returned to play well in the final session and he stopped 20 of 24 shots overall. 'It was a real tough situation for Biron to go in on,' Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. 'Pittsburgh is tough for any goaltender to face. He responded well in the third period and the team played a little better in front of him later in the game.' 'He's not a bad goalie, but he was probably nervous tonight, being it was his first game and he's 18 years old,' said Penguins' right winger Jaromir Jagr. Jagr scored his 30th goal and added three assists, Ron Francis had a goal and two assists and Sergei Zubov added three assists as the Penguins built a 6-1 lead midway through the second period.
Mario Lemieux, who was held pointless for the first time in 29 games this season in a 1-0 loss in Montreal on Saturday, had a goal and assist for Pittsburgh. Lemieux leads the NHL with 30 goals, 47 assists and 77 points. Matthew Barnaby had a goal and an assist and Randy Burridge had a pair of assists for Buffalo, which fell back to .500. Pittsburgh had lost four of its last five games but has won 13 of 16 games at home, including seven of its last eight. Buffalo has not won at Pittsburgh since a 5-4 overtime victory on Jan. 23, 1992, going 0-7-1 in that span. Petr Nedved put the Penguins on the board 2:09 into the first period with his 13th goal. Derek Plante knotted the game with his eighth goal 2:02 later. Then, the Penguins scored five consecutive goals by five different players in just over 27 minutes, bridging the first and second periods. David Roche, Jagr, and Francis scored on Biron and Lemieux and Chris Joseph beat Steve Shields. 'We got goals from different guys tonight,' Penguins coach Eddie Johnston said. 'It's nice to see your power-play unit shooting more.' Ken Wregget stopped 32 of 35 shots in improving to 10-7-1.