Pittsburgh at Florida

Crosby gets goal in return from groin injury, Penguins win fifth straight

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Pittsburgh Penguins were finding ways to win without Sidney Crosby, but having him around sure made it easier.

Crosby had a goal in his return to Pittsburgh's lineup, and Tyler Kennedy scored twice in the third period to help the Penguins beat the Florida Panthers 4-1 on Thursday night.

Kris Letang also had a third-period goal for Pittsburgh, which earned its fifth straight win.

"We were 4-0 without him, so we were going to tell him to stay home," joked Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who stopped 31 shots. "No, he's an important player, he's our captain, a good leader, a good worker. It's good to have him back."

Bill Guerin, traded to Pittsburgh from the New York Islanders on Wednesday, had an assist on Crosby's goal. Crosby missed Pittsburgh's last four games because of a groin injury, and skated on a new line with Guerin and Chris Kunitz, also acquired in a trade while Crosby was out with the injury.

"Both (Guerin) and Kunitz did a great job tonight and we're still learning from each other," Crosby said. "We can still create more. We'll figure some chemistry there."

Radek Dvorak scored for Florida, coming off a five-game trip.

Tomas Vokoun made 43 saves for Florida, which is 17-8-3 since Jan. 1.

"They had good legs, they had good jump. They beat us to a lot of loose pucks," Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said. "We looked like a team that came off a nine-day road trip. We hung in there for a little while and Tomas gave us a chance to hang around, but the better team won. We got what we deserved."

Kennedy broke a 1-1 tie at 2:24 in the third period. He scored on a one-timer from the right circle after taking a pass from Matt Cooke. Letang made it 3-1 at 4:37 in the final period with a wrist shot.

Kennedy scored again with 4:26 left in the third period on a 2-on-1 when he one-timed a feed from Evgeni Malkin to make it 4-1.

"They played well," Vokoun said. "We just weren't able to contain them and they outplayed us. Sometimes that's going to happen."

Dvorak gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead with 2:11 left in the second period. Gregory Campbell passed the puck to Dvorak, and his redirection from the side of the net trickled under Fleury's arm.

It didn't take long for Crosby to tie it at 1-all. Just 26 seconds after Dvorak's goal, Crosby split Florida defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Karlis Skrastins and beat Vokoun with a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle.

"That's a huge answer," Penguins interim coach Dan Bylsma said. "We played a pretty good game up to that point. They get that first goal and it could be a deflater, but the captain answers right back with a great goal. Kind of a signature goal for Sidney in this building. He's gone through the D here and scored before. That was a big answer. The telephone was ringing and that was a big answer."

The Penguins are in the midst of a five-game trip, which ends Sunday in Washington. Pittsburgh is 10-3-1 in its last 14 games, and 7-1-1 since Bylsma took over as interim coach on Feb. 15.

"Every game we're working hard and giving ourselves a chance," Crosby said. "There's some games where you work hard and you don't always get the breaks and things like that. We're working hard and we're getting rewarded, so we want to keep going."

Notes

  • Panthers D Nick Boynton, sent home from the team's last road trip for disciplinary reasons, returned to the club Thursday, but didn't play.
  • Penguins D Sergei Gonchar missed the game to fly back to Pittsburgh and be with his wife, who was going into labor.
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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After missing four games, Sidney Crosby gets into the groove with this fine shot for his 24th goal. (AP)
After missing four games, Sidney Crosby gets into the groove with this fine shot for his 24th goal. (AP)

Related Links
 
Scoreboard
Pittsburgh  (34-26-6) «0134
Florida (33-24-8)0101
Three Stars
M. Fleury
PIT


Saves: 31
Save Pct.: .969
S. Crosby
PIT


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
R. Dvorak
FLA


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
None
2ND PERIOD
17:49Radek Dvorak (11), Wrist Shot. Assist: Campbell, Peltonen
18:13Sidney Crosby (24), Wrist Shot. Assist: Guerin, Orpik
3RD PERIOD
02:24Tyler Kennedy (10), Snap Shot. Assist: Cooke, Staal
04:37Kris Letang (7), Wrist Shot. Assist: Orpik
15:34Tyler Kennedy (11), Wrist Shot. Assist: Malkin, Fedotenko
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
10:39Eminger, 2 min, Holding
18:22Dupuis, 2 min, Hooking
2ND PERIOD
04:16Campbell, 2 min, Slashing
12:41Stillman, 2 min, Charging
3RD PERIOD
12:12Sykora, 2 min, Holding
18:43Eminger, 2 min, Tripping
Shots On Goal
 123T
Pittsburgh14191447
Florida10101232
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Marc-Andre Fleury59:58311
Tomas Vokoun60:00434
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Pittsburgh0-for-4
Florida0-for-2
Game Information
Attendance - 18933
Referees - Dean Morton, Kevin Pollock
Linesmen - Brad Kovachik, Pierre Racicot
 
Other Games
Colu 2 Final
Nash 4
Min 4 Final
OT
SJ 3
Tor 2 Final
Wash 1
NYR 4 Final
NYI 2
Edm 2 Final
Ott 4
Dal 4 Final
OT
LA 5
Pho 2 Final
Bos 1
Cal 5 Final
Phi 1