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Aftermath: Panthers 6, Penguins 2

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins

Video: Game Highlights
Blog: Pens vs. Panthers Game Blog
The Penguins played almost perfect through the first 20 minutes, leading the Florida Panthers, 2-1, and outshooting them, 19-8. Jordan Leopold’s goal with 1:03 remaining in the first period shifted the momentum Florida’s way and buoyed a second period attack which saw the Panthers reverse their fortunes and outshoot Pittsburgh, 16-9.

Still, the Penguins held on to a precarious 2-1 lead with 2:25 to play in the second period despite the Panthers’ domination. Then, two goals 58 seconds apart allowed the Panthers to take the lead for the first time. Instead of collapsing in the final period as they had done in previous matchups with Pittsburgh, the Panthers kept attacking and tacked on three scores in the final 20 minutes to break the game wide open.
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) – Radek Dvorak scored three goals for his third NHL hat trick, and Tomas Vokoun stopped 46 shots as the Florida Panthers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-2 on Sunday night, sending the Stanley Cup champions to their season-high, fifth straight loss.

The Penguins celebrate Sidney Crosby's first-period goal
(photo by Getty)
What Worked Well: Shots on Goal
Tomas Vokoun was not voted one of the three stars against the Penguins but that was more a result of the Panthers’ offensive outburst than Vokoun not being deserving of such recognition. As they have for much of the past two seasons, the Penguins treated Vokoun as if he were target practice, throwing shots his way from all angles. Vokoun made 46 saves in the game, including 20 during the final period.

What Could Have Gone Better: Picking up Trailers on the Rush
This was a problem the last time the Penguins came to Florida and this time it cost them the hockey game. Florida got on the board late in the first period when Jordan Leopold took a pass trailing the play and beat Marc-Andre Fleury and Steven Reinprecht was also left uncovered on a third period rush and his goal was the one which seemed to lift the sails from the Penguins as it made the score 4-2 in favor of Florida.
Tyler Kennedy battled through a tough stretch which saw him go 14 straight games without a goal but he got on the board today as he opened the scoring for the Penguins 5:49 into the game. In addition to his tally Kennedy was a force all over the ice as a forechecking presence. He tallied four shots on goal as well.
A great individual effort by Tyler Kennedy got the ball rolling for the Penguins in the first period. Kennedy stole the puck from Cory Stillman at the Penguins blue line and entered the Florida zone two-on-one with Matt Cooke. Tomas Vokoun got a piece of Kennedy’s shot but the puck barely slid over the goal line to give the Penguins the first goal. Pittsburgh 1, Florida 0.

Florida dumped the puck from their own zone to the Penguins blue line but Alex Goligoski quickly jumped on the loose puck and sent a backhand pass off the boards to a streaking Sidney Crosby coming down the right side. Crosby’s wrist shot beat Vokoun over the glove hand into the top corner of the net. Pittsburgh 2, Florida 0.

Florida struck late in the first period to cut their deficit in half heading into the first intermission. Nathan Horton delayed the play skating down the left wing and hit the late man, Jordan Leopold. His shot from the right point sneaked under Marc-Andre Fleury, who got a piece of the puck on the way through. Pittsburgh 2, Florida 1.

The Panthers tied the contest when Gregory Campbell poked the puck off the stick of Evgeni Malkin’s blade in the Penguins zone. Radek Dvorak was Johnny-on-the-spot to pick it up and send a shot over the glove of Fleury. Pittsburgh 2, Florida 2.

Bryan Allen’s shot from the left point went off the stick of one of the Penguins defending in front of the net and Rostislav Olesz pounced on the loose puck and slammed it under Fleury to give the Panthers a lead they would never relinquish. Florida 3, Pittsburgh 2.

Horton delayed the play once again and found Steven Reinprecht, who had just come from the Panthers bench. Reinprecht beat Fleury with a slap shot along the ice 8:11 into the third period. Florida 4, Pittsburgh 2.

Cory Stillman missed the net with his initial shot but he was the first person to pick the rebound up behind the net. He centered a pass to Dvorak in the near circle and his one-timer beat Fleury to the far side. Florida 5, Pittsburgh 2.

Dvorak capped the scoring by picking the puck up after Dennis Seidenberg blocked a Pittsburgh shot and Dvorak sent the biscuit the length of the ice into an empty cage for the shorthanded goal to complete his hat trick. Florida 6, Pittsburgh 2.
The sequence didn’t seem big at the time but with the Penguins up 2-0 and on a power play Florida’s Keith Ballard bailed his netminder, Tomas Vokoun, with not one but two saves on Sidney Crosby. Vokoun was caught out of position when the puck came to Crosby in the right circle. Crosby ticketed a shot for the bottom-right corner of the cage but Ballard blocked the shot with his right toe. Crosby picked up the rebound and again stared at an open net but this time Ballard made a save with his chest. Little over a minute later Jordan Leopold scored to cut the lead in half and the Panthers never looked back. If Crosby gets one of those pucks past Ballard we are probably talking about a totally different result.

The last time the Penguins came to Florida they were the beneficiary of the linesmen calling a high-sticking penalty on the Panthers when the referees missed the call. At 16:02 of the third period the same situation occurred again as Cory Stillman was given a double-minor for high-sticking Mark Eaton along the boards. This time, however, the Penguins were not able to capitalize on their good fortune as the only score during the Stillman minors was Radek Dvorak’s shorthanded, empty net goal to complete a hat trick.
> Scoring Summary:
PIT, T. Kennedy (7), 5:49 1st period: Penguins 1, Panthers 0
PIT, S. Crosby (24), 10:39 1st period: Penguins 2, Panthers 0
FLA, J. Leopold (6), 18:57 1st period: Penguins 2, Panthers 1
FLA, R. Dvorak (7), 17:35 2nd period: Penguins 2, Panthers 2
FLA, R. Olesz (8), 18:37 2nd period: Panthers 3, Penguins 2
FLA, S. Reinprecht (13), 8:11 3rd period: Panthers 4, Penguins 2
FLA, R. Dvorak (8), 13:08 3rd period: Panthers 5, Penguins 2
FLA, R. Dvorak SH-EN (9), 19:57 3rd period: Panthers 6, Penguins 2

> The loss dropped the Penguins overall record to 26-16-1, keeping them at 53 points, good for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

> Despite the loss the Penguins were able to capture the season series from the Panthers by winning three of the four games.  

> Pittsburgh is now 44-19-5 in the regular season under head coach Dan Bylsma. They have a record of 21-11-3 away from Mellon Arena.

> Sidney Crosby’s first-period goal was his 24th of the season, fifth-best (tied) in the National Hockey League through Sunday’s early games. Crosby now has 24 points (12G-12A) in his past 16 games.

> Crosby tied both his season and career high by registering nine shots on goal. He previously had nine shots against the Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 28.

> Jordan Staal’s assist on Tyler Kennedy’s goal gives him assists in back-to-back games and points in five of his past six games (1G-4A).
1. R. Dvorak
2. N. Horton
3. G. Campbell
"We can't start second-guessing or
make excuses, we have to
work through it."

- Sidney Crosby


Author: Jason Seidling

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