Though their seven-point deficit for the eighth and final playoff
berth from the Eastern Conference isn't insurmountable, the Panthers
must leapfrog six teams in the standings as they are in 15th place
among 16 clubs.
However, the Panthers looked like a postseason team on Monday night
as forward Drew Shore scored twice for the first multi-goal game of
his career to lead Florida to a 5-1 victory over the
conference-leading Penguins, ending Pittsburgh's franchise-record
13-game home winning streak.
"They are one of the best teams in the league and they just keep
coming out you in waves," Panthers coach Peter Horachek said of the
Penguins. "I told our guys they had to play 200 feet for 60 minutes
and they did. We played well from start to finish. It was one of our
best efforts of the season. It's a good win for our guys."
Shore doubled his goal total for the season by scoring in each of
the first two periods. He entered the game with one goal in 11 games
and three goals in his two-year career.
"I've been trying to be more aggressive, trying to shot the puck
more," Shore said.
Forward Jonathan Huberdeau added one goal and one assist and
defenseman Dmitry Kulikov and center Shawn Matthias also scored for
the Panthers, who ended an eight-game losing streak at Pittsburgh
that dated to 2009. Florida snapped a two-game skid overall.
Center Jesse Winchester had three assists in his first game since
suffering an upper body injury on Dec. 15 and missing 14 games.
Florida (19-23-7) had scored just eight non-shootout goals in its
previous six games.
Panthers backup goaltender Scott Clemmensen made 35 saves in his
first start since Dec. 29 and also assisted on Shore's first goal.
"We treated this like a playoff game," Shore said. "Pittsburgh is
the best team in our conference. We wanted to prove we could stack
up against them."
The Penguins' goal was scored by defenseman Matt Niskanen, who has
at least one point in 12 of his last 14 games. Center Sidney
Crosby's home point streak ended at 17 games a day after he was
named the captain of the Canadian team for next month's Olympics in
Pittsburgh (34-13-2), which had been 5-0-1 in its previous six
games, suffered its first loss at Consol Enegy Center since falling
to the Philadelphia Flyers on Nov. 13. It was also just the
Penguins' sixth loss in their last 41 home games dating to Feb. 22.
[to top of second column]
Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury gave up five goals on 28
"They beat us in every area of the game," Penguins coach Dan
Bylsma said. "They beat us in special teams. They beat us
five-on-five. It was all indicative in the final score."
Shore opened the scoring at 15:46 of the first period with a
short-handed goal, beating Fleury on a wrist shot from the right
circle on a two-on-one breakout.
Shore's second goal came from point-blank rage at 13:34 of the
second period. It was set up when Huberdeau won a battle for the
puck behind the net from Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta and
chipped it to the left side of the net to Winchester, who passed
The Panthers increased their lead to 3-0 at 1:17 of the third
period when Kulikov scored his fourth goal of the season.
The Penguins solved Clemmensen on their 28th shot when Niskanen
lit the lamp with a slap shot for his seventh goal of the season
The Panthers put the game away, though, by scoring twice in a
12-second span -- Huberdeau with his eighth and Matthias with
his fifth -- to make it 5-1 with 5:58 remaining. Huberdeau
hadn't scored since Dec. 7.
NOTES: Four Penguins returned to the lineup after missing time
with injuries: D Paul Martin (leg, 23 games), F Jayson Megna
(lower body, 13 games), F Chuck Kobasew (lower body, six games)
and F James Neal (upper body, one game). Kobasew played right
wing on the first line with C Sidney Crosby and LW Chris Kunitz
as coach Dan Bylsma continues to look for someone to replace LW
Pascal Dupuis, who suffered a season-ending knee injury Dec. 23.
... Dupuis is scheduled to undergo surgery Feb. 12 as doctors
are waiting for swelling in the knee to subside. ... The
Panthers went 0-for-3 on the power play and have failed to score
with the man-advantage in 33 straight opportunities in their
last 10 games but ran their streak of successful penalty kills
to 26 in a row as the Penguins also went 0-for-3 on the power
play. ... Panthers G Tim Thomas was rested despite having
allowed two goals or fewer in eight of his last 11 games because
he has lost his last three starts against the Penguins and was
pulled in the last two.
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