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game recap

Jarry makes 33 saves, Penguins hang on for win against Panthers

Letang has goal, assist for Pittsburgh, which gets third victory in four games

by @NHLdotcom

Letang scores on breakaway

PIT@FLA: Letang beats Bobrovsky on breakaway

Kris Letang pounces on the loose puck after exiting the penalty box and slips a backhander home on a breakaway for a 1-0 lead in the 1st

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Tristan Jarry made 33 saves for the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 3-2 win against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center on Saturday.

Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal, and Kris Letang had a goal and an assist for the Penguins (34-15-5), who have won three of their past four games and are 9-3-0 in their past 12.

Pittsburgh, which moved within four points of the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division, was outshot 6-0 in the final 3:35. Jarry made the save against Evgenii Dadonov on a breakaway with two seconds remaining.


[WATCH: All Penguins vs. Panthers highlights]


"We've got to play on our toes," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "We've got to work to get the next goal. We can't sit back and try to defend a lead. We have to go out and try to get the next goal. I think from a mindset standpoint, the minute you stop trying to score, it's amazing how it changes momentum."

Video: PIT@FLA: Blueger swats puck home from the doorstep

Aleksander Barkov had four shots on goal in 21:27 in the center's return after missing three games with a lower-body injury for Florida (29-19-6), which is 1-3-1 following a season-high six-game winning streak. Sergei Bobrovsky made 19 saves.

The Panthers have lost two straight games in regulation for the first time since losing three in a row Dec. 10-14. They are two points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for third in the Atlantic Division.

"We just couldn't find a way to get the win," Barkov said. "Obviously, that's a team and an organization, Pittsburgh, they've been winning a lot lately. You've got to learn from those teams how to find a way to win games, even if you're not playing at your best."

Letang put the Penguins ahead 1-0 at 6:30 of the first period when he scored unassisted on a breakaway after exiting the penalty box. The puck got past Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad at the blue line, and Letang skated it from center ice and beat Bobrovsky with a backhand.

Teddy Blueger made it 2-0 at 10:44. Florida defenseman MacKenzie Weegar mishandled the puck after Pittsburgh defenseman Jack Johnson played it toward the net, and Blueger chipped it past Bobrovsky near the right post.

Mike Hoffman, who had a goal and an assist, cut it to 2-1 on a wrist shot from the right face-off circle at 17:22. It was his third goal in four games.

"We played well, but a couple of their goals are maybe a little bit too easy for them to get," Hoffman said. "There are good teams in this league, and they're going to earn goals themselves, but we can't be giving up too many free ones."

Crosby extended the lead to 3-1 by redirecting a pass from Jared McCann on the power play at 3:50 of the second period.

"They move the puck well. They have a lot of speed," said Crosby, who has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in nine games since returning from core muscle surgery. "The best way to play against that is to have the puck in their end. So I thought we did a pretty good job of that."

Brett Connolly took a pass from Vincent Trocheck and scored with a slap shot from the left circle to cut it to 3-2 at 4:59 of the second.

Video: PIT@FLA: Crosby redirects McCann's pass home for PPG


They said it

"I thought it was a good week for me, just being able to work on my game and be able to take the time and just focus on the things that I need to. I think not playing for a week, it gives you the chance to work on things and come out strong." -- Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry on his first start since Jan. 31

"We did a lot of good things tonight. It's one of those games where you're going to win a vast majority of kind of games. We did a lot of things right." -- Panthers coach Joel Quenneville


Need to know

Penguins defenseman John Marino was held out for precautionary reasons after being hit in the face with a deflected shot in the third period of a 4-2 loss at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday, Sullivan said. ... Pittsburgh avoided a season sweep by Florida after losing 4-2 at BB&T Center on Oct. 22 and 4-1 at PPG Paints Arena on Jan. 5. It hasn't been swept by Florida since losing each of four games in the 2003-04 season. ... The Panthers outshot the Penguins 25-14 in the second and third periods, including 11-5 in the third. ... Florida was 0-for-3 on the power play after scoring at least one goal with the man-advantage in eight of its previous 10 games. ... Pittsburgh scored on its only power play after going 0-for-11 in its previous two games. ... Weegar (upper body) was minus-1 with two shots on goal and two hits in 15:59 after missing a 7-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday. He returned Tuesday for a 1-0 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets after being sidelined the previous 15 games.


What's next

Penguins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; TVAS, ATTSN-PT, SUN, NHL.TV)

Panthers: At the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, NBCSP, FS-F, NHL.TV)

Video: Letang, Jarry help Penguins defeat Panthers

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