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Panthers win seven-round shootout against Penguins

by Cristina Ledra

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Jimmy Hayes had two goals in regulation and Aleksander Barkov scored in the seventh round of the shootout to lead the Florida Panthers to a 4-3 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at BB&T Center on Monday.

It was a huge lift for the two forwards; Hayes was scratched for a 3-1 loss at Pittsburgh on Saturday; Barkov hasn't scored since Nov. 11, a span of 12 games.

"Whenever you get scratched, you want to bounce back with a solid game," Hayes said. "So it's just about going to the net and being a more consistent player and play a big man's game every night."

Jussi Jokinen also scored and Roberto Luongo made 24 saves for the Panthers (15-9-8), who managed a split of this home-and-home series.

Luongo recorded his 386th career win, passing Mike Vernon for sole possession of 12th place on the all-time list.

Pittsburgh (22-6-5), which was without 12 players (nine from its opening-night roster) because of a variety of maladies, erased a two-goal deficit in the final five minutes of regulation, but Marc-Andre Fleury couldn't stop Barkov's nifty one-handed move that got past his stick side.

"It's good to [get] a point," Fleury said. "But when it’s so close and especially when it comes to a shootout we feel like we can win every time. It's disappointing to lose like that."

The Penguins took the early lead when center Sidney Crosby brought the puck off the boards and passed to defenseman Simon Despres at the blue line. Despres shot it toward the net and right wing Patric Hornqvist tipped the puck past Luongo for his 12th goal of the season at 4:39 of the first period.

Jokinen tied the game with 36.4 seconds left in the second period. The Penguins had just killed off a penalty when Florida defenseman Dmitry Kulikov passed the puck down to center Dave Bolland in the left corner. Bolland fed the puck to Jokinen through three Penguins in front of the net and Jokinen shot it over Fleury's right shoulder for his fourth goal of the season.

The Panthers took a 2-1 lead 22 seconds into the third period on Hayes' eighth goal of the season. Sean Bergenheim was in a battle with Penguins center Nick Spaling along the right boards, but Bergenheim came out with the puck and fed Hayes, whose quick wrist shot slipped by Fleury's right side between his blocker and pad.

Hayes scored his second goal of the game at 15:03 to give Florida the 3-1 lead. Bergenheim brought the puck out from behind the net in traffic and had a shot that went off Fleury's left shoulder and rolled behind him. Hayes was there to poke it in.

Pittsburgh came into the game in a 3-for-37 scoring slump on the power play, but Spaling scored with 4:52 left in the third period to cut Florida's lead to 3-2. From the top of the zone, Despres passed the puck over to defensemen Derrick Pouliot, and his shot was redirected by Spaling past Luongo for his sixth goal of the season just before the power play expired.

"They scored a late power-play goal, which was unfortunate because the [penalty kill] did an unbelievable job with them tonight and in the last game too, so them scoring with five seconds left was tough," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "We just kept telling the guys, 'Keep battling and working hard.'"

Penguins center Evgeni Malkin tied the game with 2:10 left in the game when he put a wrist shot past Luongo in heavy traffic.

"I wasn't happy with myself," Luongo said. "Even though they're not bad goals, you don't want to give up a two-goal lead with five, six minutes left. I just wanted to bear down in the shootout and make some saves."

In the shootout, Barkov was the only player to score, using a one-handed move that was inspired by retired Finnish player Jarkko Ruutu.

"I have to practice because I'm not that good, but I like to try special moves," Barkov said. "I was just trying to one-hand and get the puck over his paddle."

The Penguins were without defensemen Christian Ehrhoff, Robert Bortuzzo and Olli Maatta, right wings Pascal Dupuis and Beau Bennett, and centers Scott Wilson and Zach Sill because of a variety of injuries. Right wing Steve Downie, center Brandon Sutter and goaltender Thomas Greiss were sent back to Pittsburgh to get tested for the mumps before the game. Pittsburgh recalled goaltender Jeff Zatkoff from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League.

Left wing Blake Comeau left the bench midway through the third period and did not return. Penguins coach Mike Johnston said he didn't know the extent of the injury, but Pittsburgh may need to call up another forward if it is serious. Johnston said the Penguins will have to keep adjusting until they are back at full strength.

Pittsburgh will play at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

"You're playing a shorter bench up front and it's challenging for our forwards," Johnston said. "They have to keep their shifts short, we have to manage our shifts, make sure our guys aren't out there very long, change faster. We're going to have to do that again tomorrow night before we head into the break."

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