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game recap

Montoya, Panthers top Penguins

Florida has won six straight games decided in shootout

by Alain Poupart / Correspondent

Montoya's game-winning save

PIT@FLA: Montoya makes game-winning stop in shootout

2/15/16: Al Montoya stones Matt Cullen in the fifth round of the shootout, clinching the Panthers' 2-1 win over the Penguins

  • 00:16 •

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins went into overtime for the third time this season and, for the first time, the Panthers won.

Jussi Jokinen scored in the fifth round of the shootout and the Panthers defeated the Penguins 2-1 at BB&T Center on Monday.

"It was a good game," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "We played a real good hockey team and it was a battle. Every time we play Pittsburgh it seems to go into overtime and we finally got on the winning side of it. So it was a real big two points. We needed them."

Florida (33-18-6) defeated Pittsburgh (28-19-8) after the Penguins won the first two meetings, each by a score of 3-2.

The Panthers won for the first time in its six-game homestand, which began with losses against the St. Louis Blues (5-3) on Friday and Nashville Predators (5-0) on Saturday. Florida is 6-1 in shootouts this season, including six straight wins dating back to Nov. 14, the most in the NHL.

Video: PIT@FLA: Jokinen makes some nifty moves, wins game

Forward Nick Bjugstad scored in regulation for the Panthers; Al Montoya made 31 saves.

The Penguins lost for the third time in their past 10 games (7-2-1). Pittsburgh played its sixth consecutive game without Evgeni Malkin, who also didn't play in a 3-2 win against the Panthers on Feb. 6.

Chris Kunitz scored for the Penguins, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves.

"We played one-on-one in their end," Kunitz said. "We have to keep driving through some of those. They played a good game. Their forwards keep the puck down low the first 10 or 15 minutes. They're a good team and they're battling and had some struggles. Their coach called them out and they came out with a hard game and we took them close to the end and they found a way to get two points."

Jaromir Jagr, playing on his 44th birthday, had the first great scoring chance of the game early in the first period when he one-timed a pass from the slot from Vincent Trocheck but Fleury made the save.

Bjugstad scored at 7:30 of the first off a pass from defenseman Alex Petrovic. After taking a pass at the point, Petrovic faked a slap shot and instead made a diagonal pass to Bjugstad below the left circle. Bjugstad stopped the puck, which got to him despite hitting a Penguins stick, and quickly fired it past Fleury.

It was Bjugstad's first goal in his past nine games.

Video: PIT@FLA: Kunitz draws iron, ties game

"(His performance) was huge," Gallant said. "It's confidence. (Bjugstad) is one of those guys, when he gets confidence he's really good. He did some real good things tonight. He went down the wing, he was shooting pucks, he finished some checks. He keeps his game simple, he's really good. And tonight he was really good for us."

Trocheck hit the post in the second period on a wrist shot from the right circle.

Montoya stopped Carl Hagelin on a shorthanded breakaway early in the third period after making a few saves in the second, including a pad save on a Scott Wilson one-timer.

Jokinen had a great chance to increase the Florida lead midway through the third, but Fleury made a great pad save on a backhand from close range.

Florida led 1-0 before Kunitz tied it at 16:41 of the third with a wrist shot from the right circle that beat Montoya high to the glove side.

"Our effort was there for sure," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "We had a lot of zone time, controlled some territory. We knew they were going to come out with some urgency. They had lost a couple in a row and lost their last game. Usually teams respond in that circumstance."

Video: PIT@FLA: Montoya stones Hagelin on breakaway

Montoya was spectacular in overtime when he stopped three close-range shots, two from Bryan Rust and one from Phil Kessel.

"It feels good," said Montoya, who was awarded the "Spacey in Space" sweatshirt given by players to the top performer in a win. "I love to contribute. I know what I'm capable of doing. The guys kind of made my job easy tonight. They pulled a couple of pucks out of the net. Everyone battled through and put it all on the line for this game tonight."

Sidney Crosby gave Pittsburgh the lead in the first round of the shootout before Bjugstad tied it in the third. Jokinen scored in the top of the fifth before Montoya stopped Matt Cullen's wrist shot to seal the win.

Jokinen, who played 91 games for Pittsburgh before joining Florida in July 2014, scored on his first shootout attempt of the season. He beat Fleury after coming from the right side and holding the puck across the crease before shooting.

It was the same move attempted in the first round by Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau, who hit the post.

Video: PIT@FLA: Fleury makes a strong save early in 3rd

"Me and (Fleury) know each other pretty well since my time in Pittsburgh," Jokinen said. "I had a couple of options for that goal, my one-hand move or shoot low blocker. But then I saw what (Huberdeau) did and he almost scored, so I decided to do the same thing.

"We talked about that before the game that these guys just have found a way to win some games from us even when we're playing really well. It was huge to get that second point and get that win and getting the atmosphere that we have in the locker room after a win."

Florida faced Pittsburgh without forwards Brandon Pirri (ankle) and Quinton Howden (upper body), who both were injured in the loss against Nashville on Saturday, along with center Aleksander Barkov (upper body), who was placed on injured reserve Sunday when the Panthers recalled forward Greg McKegg from the Portland Pirates of the AHL.

The Panthers also played without defensemen Erik Gudbranson (upper body) and captain Willie Mitchell (lower body).

Video: PIT@FLA: Bjugstad lifts his one-timer into the net

"I thought the four lines competed and battled hard against each line they played against," Gallant said. "I really was happy with the way our guys battled. We didn't want to get in this little streak where we're losing games and we got embarrassed in the two this weekend. It was a big two points for us."

Jagr was held without a point and remained two goals shy of Brett Hull (741) for third place on the NHL's all-time list. The Panthers showed pre-recorded birthday messages for Jagr in the second period from teammates, Penguins assistant coach and former teammate Rick Tocchet and longtime Penguins radio voice Mike Lange.

Florida increased its lead in the Atlantic Division to five points over the second-place Detroit Red Wings.

"It was a game of momentum," Montoya said. "They got their push in the second period. I thought from the start of the third we were dominant. Overtime was fun, what it's supposed to be. The fans enjoyed it and it came down to the shootout. We're fortunate that it's on our side and we'll take the two points."

Video: Montoya keys Panthers' 2-1 shootout win over Penguins

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