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Panthers Wrap-Up: Penguins 4, Panthers 2

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers
1 2 3 T
Panthers 0 1 1 2
Penguins 1 2 1 4
FLA - M. Goc (1), T. Fleischmann (1)

PIT - P. Dupuis (1), M. Cooke (3), R. Park (1), J. Neal (2)
PITTSBURGH, PA (AP) - Matt Cooke scored his team-leading third goal of the season and the Pittsburgh Penguins raced past the Florida Panthers 4-2 on Tuesday night.

Pascal Dupuis, James Neal and Richard Park also had goals for the Penguins, who are off to their best start in 17 seasons despite playing without captain Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

"They play together as a team and we did so in spurts during the game. They make every little play count. That's why they've had so much success in the league. That's what we strive to get to.'"

- Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell to the Miami Herald on the Penguins
1. Power Play Still Needs Work: While the Panthers had some success moving the puck against the Islanders in the first game, against the Penguins it was anything but. In fact, it cost them a goal as the Panthers gave up a shorthanded goal when Tomas Fleischmann tried to get rid of the puck behind his own net and it was intercepted and the shot from Richard Park rebounded in off of Dmitry Kulikov's skate. The Panthers did get some pressure late in the game with the man advantage and the goalie pulled but they ended up failing to convert and went 0-5 on the night.

2. Mistakes Kill Momentum: The Panthers fought their way back to within one goal on two seperate occasions but turnovers, missed assignments and rebound control killed any momentum that they might have gotten on the Penguins. Marcel Goc cut the lead in half at 2-1 with 12:06 gone in the second period. Park would score the shorthanded goal to make it 3-1 3:15 later. After Tomas Fleischmann got the goal to within one with 3:17 gone in the third, James Neal put in a puck that was sitting on the doorstep off a rebound for a two-goal lead again. That held up as the final; 4-2..

3. Throwing The Puck To The Net Works: In one's humble opinion, that just one of the goals scored in the game were of the pretty variety (Fleischmann's). The fact that a lot of the goals were rebounds or just throwing the puck to the net and scored off bad angles/rebounds (Marcel Goc's goal, James Neal's goal) should be an indication that the tried and true message works: throw the puck to the net and good things happen.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@gabbykiger: OH MAN they had an open net. WIDE open. that is disappointing. dineen and tallon both said it.. can't get cute. #flapanthers

@grueknowwho: A frustrating game, but lots of positives to build on. I see good things for the #FlaPanthers this season.

@Crash1869: The #FlaPanthers PP looks like they aren't sure who is supposed be taking the shot. Room to improve but look much better than last year.

@dmcmahan22510: #flapanthers fall to the #pens 4-2. The fellas looked very disorganized tonight. No flow to their game. Next game is at home. #weseered
Memorable fan posts from the game.

Jose Ramirez: Well 2 bad goals giving up by us. We should be playing tighter on defense. Where is the defense!!

Joey Castro Yon: NOETIC SCIENCE says we can collectively change an outcome through our thoughts alone. Let's all put our minds together & re-energize these Cats! Remember Saturday's success!

Richard Boulger: No power play, horrible turnovers. Basically shot ourself in the foot and could never recover. Need to quit the fancy passes and put the puck on net, good things usually happen. Pittsburgh showed that tonight. Only second game though, hopefully team gets it together and puts some W's on the board.

Dara Ross: Only positive from this game is Gudbranson shoots the puck! The boys didn't look too different from last yr. Trying to make the fancy pass, too many passes. Shoot the puck and great things can happen. The PP looked terrible. The last 7 minutes of the game may have been the best but why when you are up 2 men do you not shoot! they need lots of practice!!!!
0. The two teams combined for zero power play goals despite having nine opportunites split between them. Florida held the advantage in the man advantage department, receiving one extra chance.

1. While the power play wasn't working, the penalty kill sure was. While both teams killed off every single advantage, Pittsburgh even converted on the Panthers man advantage as Richard Park scored with 4:39 left in the second period to help stake the home team to a 3-1 advantage.

2. It wasn't the most offensive night for the Panthers but there was some good news in terms of production. The Panthers received goals from two new players (Marcel Goc and Tomas Fleischmann). It was also the second game in a row that Fleischmann, Stephen Weiss and Kris Versteeg (both assisted on the Fleischmann goal) where the Panthers first line registered points.

6. After tying for the team lead in shots against his former team, the Islanders, forward Sean Bergenheim led the way for the Panthers in the shot department against Pittsburgh with 6 of the team's 34 shots. 16 of the 18 skaters recorded a shot on net with the only two not to hit the scoresheet (fine the net) were Ryan Carter and Tomas Kopecky.

62. The Penguins dominated a lot of the play against the Panthers and it all started in the face-off circle as they won 62% of the draws. Pittsburgh went 34 of 55 in the circle. They especially dominated on special teams going 5 of 7 (71%) while on the power play and 7 of 9 (78%) while shorthanded.
Marc-Andre Fleury
While he didn't receive recognition as one of the game's three stars, Marc-Andre Fleury made several key stops, including one where he reached back to keep the score 1-0, Pittsburgh.

34 Shots, 32 Saves, .941 SV%
After the loss, the Panthers will have three days off to recuperate and fix their mistakes. The next game will be the home opener as the Panthers will See Red along with their fans when they host cross-state rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa on the other hand play a game on Long Island on Thursday so will just have one day off in between games. Look for the Panthers to come out flying in front as they play in front of their home crowd for the first time of the 2011-12 season.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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