Game Recap

Panthers Grab Point Against Pens

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

Florida Panthers

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Panthers Grab Point Against Pens
Florida Panthers 3, Pittsburgh Penguins 4
By Dave Joseph and wire reports for floridapanthers.com

On a night they were missing two of its stars – on a night they were facing the hottest team in the NHL – the Panthers found themselves Tuesday evening in Pittsburgh holding a 3-1 lead going into the third period.

But instead of taking two points out of the Steel City, the Panthers went into the night with only a single point after the Penguins launched a torrid, third period comeback to win in a shootout 4-3.

Third period goals by Sidney Crosby and Jordan Staal just 3:09 apart tied the game before Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang beat Tomas Vokoun in the shootout to jump the Penguins over the Panthers in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

With defenseman Bryan McCabe (fractured orbital bone) and Nathan Horton (severed tendon) out of the lineup, the Panthers got big performances early from some unlikely heroes. Nick Boynton, a healthy scratch the previous five games, scored his first goal since Dec. 14 and Kamil Kreps scored his third of the season to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead. Defenseman Keith Ballard made it 3-1 at 18:50 of the second period. The two goals by the defenseman gave the Cats 43 on the season, tying the franchise record for goals in a season (1995-96).

But the Panthers, despite a 47-save performance by Vokoun, couldn’t hold off the streaking Penguins, who won their seventh consecutive game and are now 9-1-1 under coach Dan Bylsma.

The winning streak is the Penguins' longest since they won eight in a row from Dec. 23, 2007, through Jan. 10, 2008.

The loss sent the Panthers in the topsy-turvy Eastern Conference from sixth to seventh, a point behind seventh-place Pittsburgh, tied with Carolina and a point ahead of the ninth-place Rangers.

"It's a big point this time of the year, but we had the opportunity to get two and you get greedy this time of the year," Panthers coach Peter DeBoer said.

Richard Zednik and Stephen Weiss each failed against goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in the shootout, allowing Malkin to decide it. Malkin repeatedly shifted the puck on his stick as he skated down the edge of the slot, forcing Vokoun to commit by going down and allowing Malkin to slip the puck into the unguarded net.

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Tonight’s Mayors Jewelers Three Star Selections of the Game are:
1st: Sidney Crosby
2nd: Tomas Vokoun
3rd: Jordan Staal
Mayors is the Official Jeweler of the Florida Panthers, please visit www.mayors.com or your local South Florida Mayors location.
"I did something different because I did not score the last time," said Malkin, who previously was 1-for-4 in shootouts. "I practiced my move a couple of times, and it worked good."

"The shootout is a lottery," said Vokoun.. "He (Letang) made a nice move on the first one and I kind of froze. I tried to throw a pokecheck at him (Malkin), but he made a good play."

"We heard about how it's a tough thing for a team coming back from a long road trip, and I think we came into this game knowing that didn't matter and that we needed two points, especially against Florida," Staal said. "So it was huge."

Staal made it 3-2 with 2:20 gone in the third, batting in a rebound of Matt Cooke's shot from the slot.

Crosby tied it with his 26th and third in three games since returning from a four-game layoff with a groin injury, finishing off a give-and-go sequence with new linemates Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz. Crosby redirected Guerin's shot, causing it to strike the left post and deflect off the back of Vokoun's left leg.

"You've just got to keep peppering him," Crosby said. "He was obviously on his game tonight but every goalie's the same way, if you get shots and get traffic, he's going to be forced to deal with rebounds - goalies can get tired, as well. When you face that many shots, it's not easy."

Guerin, who reached the 800-point mark last week shortly after being traded to Pittsburgh, was credited with his 400th assist. He has one goal and four assists since being traded by the Islanders a week ago.

Before that, Boynton, Kamil Kreps and Ballard scored in succession as the Panthers were outshot 18-7 in the second, yet turned a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead. Pittsburgh held a 36-12 advantage over the final two periods, only to be outscored 3-2. The Penguins ended with a 50-21 edge in shots.

Notes: Florida F Nathan Horton will be out 2-to-4 weeks due to a tendon injury in his left ring finger. ... Florida is 9-1-1 in Tuesday games. ... Fleury has won each game during Pittsburgh's winning streak. ... Pittsburgh played the first of nine home games in a 10-game span that runs through April 1. The only road game is Thursday at Columbus. ... Pittsburgh is 9-1-1 under coach Dan Bylsma. ... The 50-shot game was Pittsburgh's first since early last season at Toronto.
scoring summary
1st Period
Evgeni Malkin (30) ASST: Sidney Crosby (58), Kris Letang (17)
1 - 0 PIT
2nd Period
Nick Boynton (5) ASST: David Booth (19), Keith Ballard (24)
1 - 1 Tie
Kamil Kreps (3) ASST: Nick Boynton (13), Cory Stillman (25)
2 - 1 FLA
Keith Ballard (6) ASST: Ville Peltonen (16), Radek Dvorak (19)
3 - 1 FLA
3rd Period
Jordan Staal (18) ASST: Matt Cooke (16), Tyler Kennedy (14)
3 - 2 FLA
Sidney Crosby (26) ASST: Bill Guerin (24), Chris Kunitz (23)
3 - 3 Tie
OT Period
1K. LetangR. Zednik
2S. CrosbyS. Weiss
3E. Malkin
penalty summary
1st Period
Hal Gill  Tripping against  David Booth
David Booth  Slashing against  Chris Kunitz
Jassen Cullimore  Hooking against  Max Talbot
2nd Period
Ville Peltonen  Hooking against  Jordan Staal
Jay Bouwmeester  Holding against  Sidney Crosby
3rd Period
David Booth  Slashing against  Jordan Staal
Hal Gill  Interference against  Richard Zednik
Richard Zednik  Interference against  Max Talbot
OT Period
goalie stats
Tomas Vokoun
Tomas Vokoun
SA: 50TOI: 65:00
Saves: 47EV: 34 - 37
PIM: 0PP: 13 - 13
SV%: .940SH: 0 - 0
Marc-Andre Fleury
Marc-Andre Fleury
SA: 21TOI: 64:58
Saves: 18EV: 15 - 18
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 3
SV%: .857SH: 0 - 0