SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) _ Niklas Hagman and the Florida Panthers took full
advantage of a timely game against lowly Pittsburgh.
Hagman ended a 30-game drought with two goals, helping Florida extend
Pittsburgh's franchise-record losing streak to 13 games with a 5-1 victory
``It's been a long time since I've scored,'' said Hagman, whose last goal
was on Nov. 16. ``I was happy that I managed to get another one, too.
Hopefully, it continues now.''
Darcy Hordichuk, Olli Jokinen and Valeri Bure also scored for the Panthers,
who have won three in a row for the first time this season. The victory was
Florida's eighth straight against Pittsburgh.
``It was huge,'' said goalie Roberto Luongo, who stopped 34 shots. ``We knew
they were going to play desperate hockey. It was important for us to have a
good game and not allow them anything.''
Ryan Malone scored a short-handed goal for the Penguins, who haven't won
since beating Philadelphia 2-1 on Jan. 12.
``I don't know if it will all come together, but certainly positive play or
a win certainly will help stop the bleeding,'' Penguins coach Ed Olczyk said.
Pittsburgh goalie Jean-Sebastien Aubin was pulled after Hagman's second goal
made it 3-1 with 2:02 left in the second period. Aubin gave up three goals on
29 shots before being replaced by Sebastien Caron.
After a scoreless first period, Florida set a franchise record with 26 shots
on goal in the second and took a 4-1 lead.
``We've got a lot of leaders, they talked (after the first period) about how
this was an important game,'' Hordichuk said. ``It was a great opportunity to
get a victory. We needed it and we got it.''
Hagman broke a 1-1 tie on a short-handed goal after Aubin got caught out of
his net trying to play the puck. After Matt Cullen stole the puck from Aubin in
the corner, he passed in front to Hagman, who shot it into the open net for his
first goal since Nov. 16.
It was a league-high 13th short-handed goal the Penguins have allowed this
Hagman increased the lead when he beat Aubin with a slap shot from the top
of the right circle.
``When you score a goal, it gives you a little more boost, where you might
try to do some different things when you've got some confidence in yourself,''
Hagman said. ``For me, not having scored in a long time, it was a big boost.''
Jokinen ended the second-period scoring outburst when he put a rebound past
Caron on a power play with 7.7 seconds left.
Hordichuk scored a rare goal to give Florida a 1-0 lead. His shot off a nice
spinning move in front of the net was only his second goal of the season and
third in 109 NHL games.
The Panthers got the first 10 shots in the period before the Penguins' first
two resulted in Malone's goal. Luongo made a pad save on Eric Meloche's shot on
a two-on-one, but Malone backhanded the rebound into the open net.