SUNRISE, Fla. – Sidney Crosby and Erik Christensen sparked Pittsburgh’s second-period rally, but the Panthers survived it and went on to post a 6-3 home win Friday night.
Olli Jokinen recorded his first-career hat-trick for the Panthers (7-12-4), who snapped a 12-game winless streak. Their last win came against the Penguins (7-10-6) on Oct. 25 at Mellon Arena. Pittsburgh has lost its last 11 games against Florida.
Jokinen scored twice to spark Florida’s first-period outburst as the Panthers grabbed a 4-1 edge at first intermission.
Kristian Huselius gave Florida a 1-0 edge 1:56 into the game. He slapped a rebound off the end boards into the goal past Sebastien Caron.
Jokinen ripped a slap-shot from just inside the blue line to give the Panthers a 2-0 advantage 1:04 later.
Ziggy Palffy cut the Penguins’ deficit to 2-1 with a goal at 8:11. On the left boards, Christensen fired a cross-ice pass to Palffy, who flipped a backhander past goalie Roberto Luongo.
Florida’s Gary Roberts scored 16 seconds later. He ripped a one-timer past Caron, who was then pulled in favor of Jocelyn Thibault after allowing three goals on seven shots.
Jokinen scored again when he took a long outlet pass, broke through the defensive zone and flipped a shot past Thibault for a short-handed goal at 13:34.
Crosby and Christensen scored goals to bring the Penguins within a goal in the second period, but Florida scored twice in two minutes to post a 6-3 edge at the intermission.
Crosby scored 48 seconds into the second period to slice Pittsburgh’s deficit to 4-2. Crosby, positioned in front of the Panthers’ goal, took a Palffy pass from behind the net and one-timed it past Luongo.
Christensen ripped a shot past Luongo at 8:00 to bring the Penguins within 4-3. Palffy assisted on the goal.
Jokinen slapped a one-timer past Thibault on a two-on-one to boost Florida’s lead to 5-3 at 10:56.
Two minutes later, the Panthers went up, 6-3, when Stephen Weiss sent a pass in front of the Pittsburgh goal. It deflected off defenseman Brooks Orpik’s skate and slid into the Penguins’ net.
Crosby blocked a shot off the instep of his left skate with about 11:00 to play. He hobbled off the ice and went into the locker room, but returned to the ice less than three minutes later.
ICE CHIPS: Josef Melichar and Lyle Odelein were the Penguins’ healthy scratches…Pittsburgh’s Shane Endicott was placed on injured reserve…Pittsburgh’s Maxime Talbot and Florida’s Jay Bouwmeester got into a small scrap in the second period.