After coming off a game that had everything against the Philadelphia Flyers the Pittsburgh Penguins were in desperate need of a home win. This season the Pens are only 3-4 at home and look to improve that record as they host the Florida Panthers. The Panthers coming in on a hot streak getting points in eight of their last ten games, including beating the Flyers 5-2 last night.
The Penguins got an early power play opportunity when Jonathan Huberdeau took a holding call. The Penguins power play is the second best in the NHL and had scored in nine straight games, but failed to score on this opportunity.
After killing their penalty the Panthers received a power play of their own when Marc Andre Fleury tripped a Panther going behind the net. Just like the Penguins power play the Panthers were unable to score. The Penguins penalty kill held them to one shot on the power play.
There was no score at the end of the first period , but the Penguins were the team in control as they out shot the Panthers 14-3.
The Penguins were continuing their strong play in the second, including maintaining an offensive possession of over a minute in the Panthers end. However, it was the Panthers striking with the first goal even though they were being out shot 19-6. The goal was scored by Mike Weaver, his first goal in 132 games.
It didn’t take long for the Penguins to tie it up. Two minutes and sixteen seconds after the Panthers scored Chris Kunitz scored on the power play, his seventh of the season, making it ten straight games with a power play goal.
The two teams went back in forth in the third period each getting a power play, but were unable to score. Seconds after the power play ended for the Penguins they captured the lead on a goal by Matt Niskanen, his third of the season and second in two games. On the goal Beau Bennett got an assist, his first career point in the NHL.
The Penguins increased their lead to 3-1 when Dustin Jeffrey tapped in a cross crease pass by Matt Cooke into an empty net. The goal was Jeffrey’s first of the season.
The Penguins played much of the third period without reigning MVP Evgeni Malkin as early in the third Malkin crashed violently into the wall. He did not return and at the time of this writing there was no report on his injury.
The Pens won the game 3-1 playing their most complete game from start to finish all season. They had 40 shots on net and only took two penalties. The Penguins will look to put in another effort like this against the Tampa Bay Lighting on Sunday.