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Florida at Pittsburgh

Pens blank Panthers, halt seven-game home losing skid in series

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- These Pittsburgh Penguins must be for real. They're even beating the Florida Panthers.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 32 shots, and the Penguins ended a nearly five-year home losing streak against the Panthers by winning 3-0 Tuesday night.

And they did it without any goals from Sidney Crosby or Mark Recchi.

Michel Ouellet, Dominic Moore and Ryan Whitney scored as Pittsburgh won its fourth in a row and sixth in seventh games. Crosby and Recchi combined for eight goals and 19 points in three games, with Recchi getting six goals and 10 points before being shut out by Florida.

"We got some big saves, especially in the third when they were pressing pretty hard," Crosby said, pointing to Florida's 13-4 shots advantage during the final period. "That's what your goalie needs to do, buy you time and make it tough on teams to get back when you have a lead."

Crosby did extend his point streak to seven games (4 goals, 10 assists) by helping set up Whitney's ninth goal of the season. The power-play goal came midway through the second period after Florida held off Pittsburgh during a pair of 5-on-3 advantages that lasted two minutes. Crosby has an NHL-leading 79 points in 46 games.

"It was kind of disappointing that we gave them a goal after working so hard and doing a good job with the 5-on-3," Florida coach Jacques Martin said.

Fleury got his third shutout of the season and fifth of his career, and against an opponent that had won seven in a row in Pittsburgh since March 5, 2002. The Panthers had won 14 of 15 overall against Pittsburgh.

"We said before the game it was about time - we were all sick of hearing, 'Why can't you beat these teams from Florida?"' Whitney said. "It was a huge game in that aspect and in the standings, too."

With a 24-17-8 record, the Penguins are an NHL-best 25 points ahead of their pace of last season, when they were 11-29-9 en route to winning only 22 games. They are in playoff contention for the first time since Mario Lemieux's comeback season six years ago.

"With that personnel over there, it was only a matter of time before they got going," Florida's Bryan Allen said. "Fleury played well, especially in the third period, and sometimes that's the biggest factor."

The Penguins returned from one of their best road trips in years, beating Dallas 4-3 in a shootout Friday and Phoenix 7-2 on Saturday, but didn't experience the letdown some teams have in the first game at home following a western swing.

"We wanted to make sure we come back here focused," Crosby said. "We didn't come back overconfident. We came back with a strong work ethic and tried to play the way we did in those two games on the road."

Ouellet got the game's first goal late in the first period, squeezing a backhander between goalie Ed Belfour's right shoulder and the goal post. Evgeni Malkin knocked down Jordan Staal's pass with his right hand in the neutral zone before threading a cross-ice pass onto Ouellet's stick to the left of the net.

Moore made it 2-0 as the Penguins' checking line scored 2½ minutes into the second period. Jarkko Ruutu went into the corner to chase down Ronald Petrovicky's dump-in and fed Moore in front for another backhander that got past Belfour.

"The first two periods, I think we were a little slow, a step behind and that cost us the game," said Olli Jokinen, who had four goals as the Panthers won the first two games between the teams. "They've got a lot of players in here the last few years and it's paying off."

Notes

  • The Penguins have a 22-7 scoring edge during their winning streak.
  • Florida has won only six of 27 road games.
  • The Penguins have gotten 13 of 14 points in their last seven games.
  • The crowd of 15,405 ended a streak of eight consecutive Penguins home sellouts.
  • Petrovicky has an assist in each of his last two games after not previously having one all season.
  • Mike Tomlin, the new Steelers coach, was among those in the crowd.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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The league-leading scorer Sidney Crosby extends his point streak to seven with an assist.  (AP)
The league-leading scorer Sidney Crosby extends his point streak to seven with an assist. (AP)
Scoreboard
Florida (19-23-10)0000
Pittsburgh  (24-17-8) «1203
Three Stars
M. Fleury
PIT


Saves: 32
Save Pct.: 1.000
M. Ouellet
PIT


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
R. Whitney
PIT


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0

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Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
18:11Michel Ouellet (10), Backhand Shot - Assists: Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal
2ND PERIOD
02:39Dominic Moore (6), Backhand Shot - Assists: Jarkko Ruutu, Ronald Petrovicky
10:46Power Play - Ryan Whitney (9), Slap Shot - Assists: Michel Ouellet, Sidney Crosby
3RD PERIOD
None
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
10:35Montador: Interference - 2 min.
12:46Orpik: Interference - 2 min.
19:21Crosby: Slashing - 2 min.
19:21Booth: Holding the stick - 2 min.
2ND PERIOD
07:08Booth: Hooking - 2 min.
08:03Peltonen: Hooking - 2 min.
09:05Olesz: High sticking - 2 min.
12:04Orpik: Tripping - 2 min.
3RD PERIOD
13:18Scuderi: Hooking - 2 min.
14:44Talbot: Tripping - 2 min.
19:26Jokinen: Holding - 2 min.
SHOTS ON GOAL
 123T
Florida9101332
Pittsburgh1011425
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Ed Belfour60:00223
Marc-Andre Fleury60:00320
Game Information
Attendance - 15405
Referees - Chris Rooney, Ian Walsh
Linesmen - Derek Amell, Brad Kovachik
 
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