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Panthers Wrap-Up: Penguins 3, Panthers 1

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 0 1 0 0 1
Penguins 0 1 2 0 3
FLA - M. Weaver (1)
PIT- PP - C. Kunitz (7), M. Niskanen (3), D. Jeffrey (1)

PITTSBURGH — Matt Niskanen and Dustin Jeffrey scored third-period goals to send the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Friday.

Panthers goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 37 saves in his first NHL start this season..

"The second period we lost our legs and he made a big difference. We had guys caught out a long change and he did a good job of coming up big when we needed him. That was a good showing by Jacob."

- Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen.
1. Weaver With The Offense: Playing the night before, the Panthers wanted to get through the opening period against a rested and agitated Penguins team (lost to Philadelphia the game before) and they did just that as it was scorless after one period of play. The Cats jumped on the board midway through the second and it came off the stick of defenseman Mike Weaver. With Jonathan Huberdeau setting a screen in front, the blueliner put one on net. It was his first goal in over two years but the known defensive defenseman has putting up the offensive numbers by just putting pucks on net like he did against the Pens. It was his seventh point of the season, fifth in the last four games (1-4-5). Funny enough, he's had just one shot in each of his last eight games.

2. Tough Penalties: The Panthers lead didn't last long and it all came thanks to a potent Penguins power play. Huberdeau was whistled for a tough holding call 21 seconds following the Cats goal and Chris Kunitz scored with five seconds remaining on the man advantage as they crashed Jacob Markstrom and Chris Kunitz jammed the puck past the netminder. Florida and Pittsburgh were tied at one after two but Pittsburgh took advantage of a tired Panthers team following a power play to put them up for good as Matt Niskanen scored at the 7:49 mark off the far post from the point. The goal came after Florida had to kill off a call on Tomas Kopecky where the forward was called for slashing as he was trying to dig the puck out of Marc-Andre Fleury's pads and the play still going on. The goal came 24 seconds following the end of the penalty.

3. A Debut Ruined: Head coach Kevin Dineen tabbed the 23-year old netminder to face off against a tough opponent. Markstrom was up to the task as he faced 40 shots on the night. Maybe the second one he would have liked to have back as he wasn't screened but the first goal as Kunitz dug the puck out of his grasp to score and then Matt Cooke set up Dustin Jeffrey for the all-important two-goal lead with 4:25 to play as the Cats couldn't clear, he held Pittsburgh at bay for the majority of the game. On several occasions he had to flash his glove or use one of his pads to turn aside a Pens chance. He stopped 12 in the first, 14 in the second and 11 in the third on the night.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@texas_jules: @SARampage_Voice @FlaPanthers @j_markstrom was a beast in net!!! And those props come from a Pens fan! Seriously, he was great!

@Jessicaashlee74: So proud of the @FlaPanthers tonight even though we lost we played hard! @j_markstrom was #buzzin please let him stay!!!

@cdoolz13: Markstrom is the future. puts up 37 saves against Pittsburgh. That's insane, our defense was the problem. Letting in 40 shots @FlaPanthers

@mitchmann67: Damn shame how the @FlaPanthers played tonite. Pens outshot us 40-23. @j_markstrom stood on his head. Can score if ya don't shoot. Simple

@djacobs08: @FlaPanthers learn how to clear the puck!!

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Ryan Price: Markstrom played with fire, team was sluggish around him. Blame back to back days of games. Hope the Alien doesn't get sent down, because he had a whale of a game.

Matthew Stewart: Great goaltending by markstrom!. We need to tighten up in defence and learn how to clear the puck out the zone when we have the chance.

Adam Bacine: Hard to win when 45Mins of the game is played in your own zone.

Joshua Benchimol: That was a good game from the Panthers Despite the defense tonight Now let's go home and beat Boston on Sunday !!!!!

Brett Michael Rocker: We need to play defense after scoring, I think it's a good idea.

1. Such a subjective stat but the Panthers were credited with just one giveaway on the night (Marcel Goc). Pittsburgh on the flip side had a total of 11.

Pittsburgh got production from eight different players on their three goals. No skater had more than a single point on either side.

The Panthers had 23 shots on Marc-Andre Fleury. 43.5% of that total came from the rookies as Jonathan Huberdeau led the way with six and Drew Shore had four.

26. Florida and Pittsburgh drew even in the face-off circle as they both won 26 draws. Stephen Weiss led the way with a 58% winning percentage (winning 7-of-12).

131. Defenseman Mike Weaver is definitely not known for his goal scoring prowess but his shot in the second period found the back of the net for his first goal in 131 games. His last regular season goal (he did score in the playoffs in Game 3 in New Jersey) came on Jan. 25, 2011 against the Rangers in New York.

Jacob Markstrom
Despite being saddled with the loss, he was the best player on either side, facing 12+ shots in each period.

 40 Shots, 37 Saves, .925 SV%
The Panthers return for three straight games and will play five times in an eight day span, starting on Sunday when they take on the Boston Bruins. Boston has been impressive this season, taking points in 12 of their first 14 games (10-2-2) including a 6-1-1 record away from TD Garden. Boston will have not played since defeating the Lightning 4-2 in Tampa Bay. It's a spread out attack as David Krejci leads the way with 12 points but seven other skaters have at least seven points. Brad Marchand leads the way with nine goals on the season.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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