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Panthers Wrap-Up: Panthers 3, Penguins 2

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers
1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 1 1 1 0 3
PENGUINS 1 1 0 0 2
FLA - B. Campbell (2), PPG - T. Fleischmann (8), PPG - S. Weiss (7)

PIT - C. Kunitz (7), J. Staal ()
SUNRISE, FLA (AP) - Stephen Weiss scored with 3:30 left in the third period and the Florida Panthers beat Pittsburgh 3-2 on Saturday night, capturing their first win against the Penguins in their last six games.

Brian Campbell and Tomas Fleischmann also scored for Florida, while Jose Theodore had 39 saves.

"The desire to keep the puck out of the net was extremely strong by all six guys on the ice. I don't think our fans ever get cheated here at home I tell you. We always seem to make it entertaining."

- Head coach Kevin Dineen on the final minutes of the game.
1. Mmm-Mmm Good: If there was any doubt about Brain Campbell's offensive ability before by anyone (how could there be...) then fans must have been impressed by his goal 7:28 into the first period. Getting the puck on his stick between the circles, Campbell rushed in on Penguins netminder Brent Johnson deked him out of his skates and put the puck between the netminder who went to the ice between his armpit. Losing the stick on the play as well as getting tripped up by Johnson, Campbell showed the power forward like moves of an NBA player. Campbell who had 27 points all of last season with Chicago (65 games) registered his 18th point of the season (second goal) in just 19 games.

2. Chances Galore: The Panthers and Penguins each had their opportunities as it was a highly entertaining game with changes in momentum throughout. In the second period alone, the two teams combined for 28 shots (Pittsburgh held the advantage with 17 of them). Both Jose Theodore and Brent Johnson had to make difficult stops and there were several odd-man rushes where an attempted shot was whiffed on. If connected, the score would have been much more than the final of 3-2. On one such chance, Theodore had to come up with a big glove save about midway through the first period as Matt Cooke found himself all alone off a feed from Tyler Kennedy. Johnson's best save came with 7:44 left to play as he robbed Kris Versteeg who was set up beautifully from in close by Stephen Weiss.

3. Loving The Team Effort: The Panthers and Penguins went back and forth and it was great to see Florida take on an extremely talented Pittsburgh team (even without Sidney Crosby in the lineup). Florida's three goals were scored by the top line but each line had their chances. Then you take into account that the power play struggles was lifted as two of the three tallies came with a man advantage. On the backend the Panthers were strong all night against the Penguins and what can you say about Theodore. He stood on his head on numerous occasions and finished with 39 saves. The most nerve-wracking time (the last two plus minutes following Stephen Weiss' power play goal) might have been the highest this season as Pittsburgh came at Florida with everything but the kitchen sink. All six guys on the ice laid their bodies on the line to block the Pens shots and when the shots did get through Theodore was there to keep it a one-goal advantage. Very rarely have the Panthers been not been in games this season and it's because of the team effort that they have shown night in and night out.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@Weinsteinlaw: The Florida Panthers are in sole possession of 1st place in the Southeast division. That is all. #FlaPanthers #weseered

@puckmaster35: #FlaPanthers Panthers win!!!!! Great game!!! Back to 3rd in the conference!!!

@pattysmithsfl: @FlaPanthers I had to work tonight. Thank you for all the updates! Congrats to the #FlaPanthers! Great win and 1st place!

@SamYouAtSix: Holy crap, so proud of the #FlaPanthers! Let's keep this #firstplace stop!

@robstar610: @FlaPanthers game was incredible :DD

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Ryan Brent: Didn't make it to the game but watched on FSN beer is now all over my living room

Brendan Jitlife Taylor: Stephen weiss played like an all-star tonight great team effort tonight.

Erick Maldonado: Panthers win!!! My heart is still beating fast :)

Brett Michael Rocker: WHAT AN END TO A GAME! Crazy win for the Cats. Theodore was a beast for the Cats tonight!

Cheryl Krausz Allen: Thanks to the Panthers for making my son's first hockey game a great experience! Awesome game!!

7. The top line of Kris Versteeg, Stephen Weiss and Tomas Fleischmann led the way once again, combining for seven of the team's nine points. Leading the way was Weiss (1-2-3) while Fleischmann (1-1-2) and Versteeg (0-2-2) also had multiple point games.

9. Talk about stingy. The Panthers improved to 9-0-0 when they have allowed two goals or less to their opponents. They've accomplished that feat in four of their last six games.

It was a long time coming as the Panthers ended a power play drought in which they failed to score on 18 straight chances. That happened when forward Tomas Fleischmann connected on a goal, almost to that 18 mark, coming just 15 seconds into a Chris Kunitz penalty. Florida had not scored in three straight games.

Goaltender Jose Theodore continued his success against the Penguins, earning the 20th victory of his career vs the boys from Pennsylvania. He's done that in just 28 games (20-5-3).

The game was just a little over a minute old when the Penguins struck for the first goal. What looked like an innicent shot from Chris Kunitz from near the blue line snuck through Jose Theodore 1:09 into the contest.
Stephen Weiss
Definitely a tough one with Theodore stopping 39 of 41 shots but Weiss had a hand in all three goals, including netting the game-winner and dominated the face-off circle, winning 15 of his 22 draws (68%) and blocked five shots.

1 Goal, 2 Assists, 3 Shots, 68% F.O. , 5 B.S.
After a day off on Sunday, the Panthers welcome back their former coach for the first time as they take on Peter DeBoer and the New Jersey Devils. New Jersey has been hot of late, entering Monday's meeting with the Panthers having won two straight including a 4-2 victory over Tampa Bay Saturday night and hold a 10-7-1 record.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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