The Pittsburgh Penguins got off to a slow start against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night. They fell behind 1-0 when they gave up a power play goal to Tomas Kopecky, his sixth of the season. Not only giving up the first goal which has been a rare occurrence for the Penguins this season, but the Penguins were held to just eight shots in the first period. The last time these two teams faced each other, a 3-1 victory by the Pens, the Penguins were able to get 40 shots on goal. The Penguins average 30 shots a game.
It didn’t take long for the Penguins to tie the game when they came out of intermission. Fifty-one seconds into the second period James Neal wristed one past goaltender Jose Theodore. The goal was Neal’s 13th of the season. The Penguins seemed to be gaining some momentum then back to back penalties on Matt Cooke and Brooks Orpik put the Penguins down 5 on 3. The Penguins did excellent work for almost two minutes but the numbers were just too much as they gave up another power play goal to Kopecky, his seventh of the season.
The Panthers would take a 3-1 on another power play goal. On plus side for the Penguins at least this one was not scored by Kopecky. Brain Campbell would get credit for the goal, his fifth of the year. Thirty-two seconds later the Panthers would add another power play goal making it 4-1. Marcel Goc would score his first of the year.
The Penguins would pull Tomas Vokoun after giving up four goals on 22 shots and seconds later Dustin Jeffrey added his second goal of the season cutting the lead to 4-2. After finally having a successful penalty kill, the Penguins quickly made a rush up ice and scored on a one time shot by Paul Martin making it 4-3. The goal was Martin’s fourth of the year.
After falling down 4-1 the Penguins battled back to tie the game at four before the second period ended when they scored a power play goal of their own. Chris Kunitz would bank in off a Panthers skate in front of the net and behind Theodore. The goal was his eighth of the season.
The Penguins had a chance to take the lead with a power play opportunity in the third but it was the Panthers scoring just seconds after the penalty. Tomas Fleischmann scored his fifth of the season and 100th of his career to give the Panthers a 5-4 lead. Kopecky would end up with the hat trick as he would add the empty netter making it 6-4.
The Penguins will look to get back on the winning track when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.