Rewarded and relieved.
That’s how the Penguins feel following a 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers at BankAtlantic Center Friday night that snapped a six-game losing streak.
“It’s a good feeling to get over a slump like that,” forward James Neal
said, who iced the victory with Pittsburgh's fourth goal. “It’s been a long time since a win. It feels good. We did the right things leading up to this game to get the win. We have to keep going, keep doing the right things and stay on the right track.”
The Pens played spirited hockey over the course of the losing streak, but weren’t getting enough breaks to pull out a victory. And it seemed whenever Pittsburgh made a mistake, it resulted in a goal against.
“It’s been frustrating, but a good relief,” said goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury
, who made 25 saves in the contest. “A good win. Guys were playing well, but we just couldn’t win games. Finally tonight to get (a win) was big.”
“It’s a lot like we’ve been playing,” head coach Dan Bylsma said.
Against Florida, the Pens were rewarded for a dominating effort not only with some lucky breaks, but also with a big W. The victory not only ends the losing streak, but also adds a crucial two points in the standings for Pittsburgh – which slipped to ninth in the Eastern Conference heading into the contest.
Despite the win, the Pens remain in ninth place – but they keep pace with eighth-seeded Washington, which won earlier in the evening, as both squads have 48 points.
Earlier in the day, the Pens came together as a team when they wore a symbolic “C” on their chests to show solidarity with injured captain Sidney Crosby
, who skated after the team’s morning skate for the first time since suffering concussion-like symptoms (full details here
The win comes a day after general manager Ray Shero said the answer to snapping the streak would come from leadership inside the team’s locker room. And all the guys stepped up, whether it was Arron Asham
in a fight, Evgeni Malkin
tickling the twine or Brooks Orpik
throwing a big check.
“We need 20 leaders,” Bylsma said. “We like the way we play as a team. We responded and we wanted to keep going in that direction.”