Petr Sykora posted a goal and an assist, as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Buffalo Sabres, 4-1, at HSBC Arena. Evgeni Malkin also recorded a goal and an assist for the Penguins, who have won four of their last six. Ryan Malone collected two helpers, and Ty Conklin made 36 saves to pick up his 15th win of the season. "We got better as the game went on," Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien said. "Obviously, we had a slow start and when you go in the game and get a performance that Ty gave us, especially in the first period, you give your team some confidence that you have a chance to win this game." Thomas Vanek scored the lone goal for the Sabres, who suffered only their second regulation loss in the past 12 games (8-2-2). Ryan Miller allowed three goals on 24 shots in defeat. "We poured a lot into the first period and got nothing for it," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "We didnt finish a couple of great opportunities that could have made a difference in the game. We made some big mistakes." With the win, Pittsburgh tied idle New Jersey atop the Atlantic Division with 71 points. The Penguins tallied on their first two shots of the middle stanza to grab a 2-0 lead. As Jarkko Ruutus hooking infraction expired and the rugged forward vacated the penalty box, Malone fired a long, lead pass, springing his teammate on a breakaway. Ruutu moved in on Miller, faked the forehand and lifted a backhander past the goalies outstretched glove at the 7:28 mark. It was Ruutus first tally since March 14, 2007, a span of 59 games. Two minutes later, while on the power play, Malkins shot attempt was blocked by Buffalos Henrik Tallinder, but the puck went right to the stick of Sykora, who buried it behind Miller. Vaneks power-play marker cut the deficit in half with 5:15 left in the frame. Malkin gave the Penguins some breathing room with his 34th goal of the season. Following up the play, Malkin drove hard to the net and tipped in a loose puck at 8:13 of the third. Colby Armstrong added an empty-net goal with 1:12 remaining to seal the win. Buffalo came out blazing, firing nine shots on goal in the first five minutes of the game, while pinning the Pens in their zone. In all, Buffalo generated the first 11 shots before Sykora, on an odd-man rush, registered the first one for Pittsburgh with 11:54 remaining in the frame. The Sabres outshot Pittsburgh 17-6 in the first period, but Conklin, who was on the receiving end of the onslaught, stopped everything to keep the game scoreless. Game Notes The most recent encounter between these teams took place on New Years Day in the historic outdoor game dubbed "The Winter Classic," which was held at Buffalos Ralph Wilson Stadium...Malkin extended his point streak to eight games (seven goals, 12 assists) and his goal-scoring streak to five...The Penguins snapped a three-game road losing streak...The Penguins will look to sweep the four-game season series on March 12 in Pittsburgh...Vanek has scored nine goals in his last 10 contests.