The Penguins snapped a six-game losing streak in Florida Friday night by beating the Panthers 4-1.
After shooting 18 times in the first period but failing to score, the Pens got goals from Steve Sullivan and Evgeni Malkin — and some great saves by Marc-Andre Fleury — in the second period.
Tyler Kennedy scored seconds after the third period began. Michal Repik got one back for the Panthers about seven minutes into the third period, but James Neal scored his 22nd goal of the season (but his first since December 27) with four minutes left to play, putting the Pens up 4-1.
The Penguins shot 41 times against Scott Clemmensen. Fleury picked up 25 saves.
This was an important game for the Pens, and now that they’ve got that monkey off their backs, they can head to Tampa Bay with some confidence. They’ll take on the Lightning there Sunday afternoon.
After a first period in which they shot 18 times but couldn’t manage to score, the Penguins finally broke through in the second period, and they now lead the Florida Panthers 2-0.
Steve Sullivan scored early in the period for the Penguins, with an assist from Matt Cooke. Then Evgeni Malkin scored an unassisted goal late in the period on a rebound. The Pens tallied 14 more shots in the second period to make it 32 total.
Coming on the heels of (what hopefully will be only) a six-game losing streak in which the Pens scored only six goals total, two goals in a single period feels like it might as well be a million. Heading into the third period, the Pens will now rely on Marc-Andre Fleury (who has 17 saves so far and had some excellent saves in the second period) and their defense to maintain a two-goal lead and escape the Panthers' house with a win.
After one period, the Penguins and the Panthers are in a scoreless tie at the BankAtlantic Center in Florida.
The Penguins recent struggles at scoring continued in a frustrating first period. They managed 18 shots, including several excellent scoring chances, but couldn’t get any of them past Scott Clemmensen. Marc-Andre Fleury, meanwhile, has six saves for the Pens. James Neal had four shots on goal for the Pens.
The Pens had two power plays in the period (on a tripping call against Stephen Weiss and a slashing penalty against Kris Versteeg) but couldn’t convert either of them. Arron Asham and the Panthers’ Krys Barch each got five-minute majors for fighting.
The Penguins are trying to stop a six-game losing streak, and are trying to keep fighting without the services of top players like Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang and Jordan Staal, who have all been lost to injury.