Pittsburgh at Florida

Kopecky's hat trick keys Panthers in win over Penguins


SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers broke out of their power-play slump in a big way.

Tomas Kopecky recorded his first career hat trick and Tomas Fleischmann had the go-ahead score for his 100th career goal, lifting the Panthers to a 6-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.

Brian Campbell and Marcel Goc also scored, and Fleischmann added two assists for the Panthers. Scott Clemmensen stopped all 15 shots he faced in the third period after replacing Jose Theodore during the second intermission. Theodore stopped 15 of 19 shots through the first and second periods.

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The Panthers, who came in with only one power-play goal in their last 24 chances -- including 0 for 17 at home -- scored four goals with the man advantage, and also broke a five-game home losing streak, winning for just the second time in nine games.

"It's been a couple of weeks here that we haven't been able to generate much on the power play, so it was good for our group to go out there," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "I just think confidence, success, breeds success."

Chris Kunitz, Dustin Jeffrey, Paul Martin and James Neal scored for the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury made 12 saves for Pittsburgh and Sidney Crosby had two assists.

Kopecky, who has six goals in his last six games, scored his third of the game on an empty-netter from his own blue line that made the score 6-4 with one minute left. He also had an assist.

"I just tried to get the puck out and tonight it was one of those nights, it was going in," Kopecky said. "I was happy. I was more happy that it was a two-goal lead. A big victory for us."

Fleischmann put the Panthers in front 5-4 when his slap shot from the right circle rifled past Fleury at 3:29 of the third. Fleischmann had just come out of the penalty box when he got the puck and had a 2-on-1.

"It was a pretty good battle there in the corner when I jumped on the ice and the puck came to me," Fleischmann said. "The D-man left me alone so I walked down, shot it, and it went in."

Both teams combined for seven goals in the second period. Trailing 4-1 at the 8:54 mark, the Penguins scored three unanswered goals to tie it heading into the third.

They closed to 4-2 when Jeffrey's shot trickled through Theodore's legs at 9:51. Martin's goal, a slap shot from the right circle, pulled the Penguins to 4-3 at 14:08. Pittsburgh then tied it on a power-play goal by Kunitz with less than a minute left. His shot bounced off the skates of Florida's Mike Weaver and ricocheted back into the net.

Leading 2-1, the Panthers scored two goals in a 32-second span of the middle period -- both with the man advantage. Campbell's slap shot from the left circle beat Tomas Vokoun on the glove side at 8:22. Goc poked in a loose puck at 8:54, his first goal of the season, to make the score 4-1. Vokoun, who had 18 saves on 22 shots, was then replaced by Fleury.

"It was an onslaught on Tomas, he saw the power play repeatedly and the 5-on-3 went in," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "It was more of a situation where the team needed a change rather than the goaltender needed a change."

The Panthers took a 2-1 lead on Kopecky's second goal. The Penguins had just killed a 5-on-3 power play when Kopecky found a loose puck in front and poked it past Vokoun at 3:22 of the second.

"We have to do a better job of staying out of the box. That's pretty clear," Crosby said. "Besides that, we didn't really deserve to win, even without taking those penalties."

The Penguins tied it 1-all on Neal's goal. His shot from well above the top of the right circle got by Theodore 51 seconds into the second period.

The Panthers took a 1-0 lead in the first on a power-play goal by Kopecky. Campbell's shot from the top of the left circle was blocked by Vokoun but Kopecky grabbed the rebound and swept it in at 13:57.


  • Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin remains sidelined with a concussion suffered in Friday's 3-1 over the Panthers and didn't make the three-game road trip.
  • Florida recalled C Scott Timmons from AHL San Antonio.
  • C Stephen Weiss missed Tuesday's game while traveling to Toronto to attend his grandmother's funeral.
Copyright 2017 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.
Tomas Fleischmann (left) sores the go-ahead goal (the 100th for his career) to help the Panthers defeat the Penguins. (AP)
Tomas Fleischmann (left) sores the go-ahead goal (the 100th for his career) to help the Panthers defeat the Penguins. (AP)
Pittsburgh (13-7-0)0404
Florida  (6-9-4) «1326
Three Stars
T. Kopecky

Goals: 3
Assist(s): 1
T. Fleischmann

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2
B. Campbell

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2

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Scoring Summary
13:57Power Play - Tomas Kopecky (6), Slap Shot. Assist: Campbell, Kulikov
51.0 - James Neal (13), Slap Shot. Assist: Crosby, Kunitz
03:22Power Play - Tomas Kopecky (7), Slap Shot. Assist: Fleischmann, Campbell
08:23Power Play - Brian Campbell (5), Slap Shot. Assist: Kulikov, Shore
08:54Power Play - Marcel Goc (1), Slap Shot. Assist: Kopecky, Fleischmann
09:51 - Dustin Jeffrey (2), Slap Shot. Assist: Orpik, Bennett
14:08 - Paul Martin (4), Slap Shot. Assist: Neal
19:19Power Play - Chris Kunitz (7), Slap Shot. Assist: Crosby
03:29 - Tomas Fleischmann (5), Slap Shot. Assist: Smithson
19:00 - Tomas Kopecky (8), Empty Net. Assist: Goc, Gudbranson
Penalty Summary
01:58Matthias, 2 min, Hooking
12:54Kennedy, 2 min, Boarding
01:19Cooke, 2 min, Delaying Game
01:31Orpik, 2 min, Elbowing
03:22Vokoun, 2 min, Roughing
03:22Letang, 2 min, Roughing
03:22Campbell, 2 min, Roughing
03:22Kopecky, 4 min, Roughing
07:14Glass, 2 min, High sticking
08:23Dupuis, 2 min, Hooking
11:58Kunitz, 2 min, Interference with goal tender.
15:27Neal, 2 min, Hooking
18:08Huberdeau, 2 min, Interference
01:18Fleischmann, 2 min, Tripping
07:52Timmins, 2 min, Delaying Game
Shots On Goal
Other Games
Buf 2 Final
TB 1
Cal 1 Final
Min 2
Pho 4 Final
Van 2
Car 0 Final
Wash 3
Dal 5 Final
Colu 4
Wpg 4 Final
Bos 4 Final
Colo 2 Final
SJ 3