February 9, 2020 / 2:58 AM / 18 days ago

Penguins continue torrid stretch, down Panthers

EditorsNote: Updates: Minor edits throughout

Kris Letang scored a goal and added an assist to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 win over the host Florida Panthers on Saturday night at Sunrise, Fla.

The Penguins also got goals from Sidney Crosby, the game-winner, and Teddy Blueger.

Tristan Jarry made 33 saves to earn his first win since Jan. 31 as the Penguins avoided what would have been consecutive losses for the first time since Nov. 29-30. Since then, the Penguins are 20-6-1.

Jarry made a huge right-pad stop on Evgenii Dadonov on a breakaway with one second left in the game.

The Panthers lost their third straight game (0-2-1), their longest slump since a three-game skid from Dec. 10-14.

Florida got goals from Mike Hoffman and Brett Connolly and 19 saves from Sergei Bobrovsky.

Perhaps the best news for the Panthers on the night was the return of center Aleksander Barkov, who had missed three games due to a lower-body injury. Barkov, a 2019 All-Star and Florida’s captain, did not have a point but nearly scored in the first period, hitting the left post and the crossbar on the same shot.

The Panthers also got defenseman MacKenzie Weegar off the injury list but still do not have center Brian Boyle (undisclosed issue).

Pittsburgh, thanks to a pair of pucks that skipped past Panthers defensemen, took a 2-0 lead midway through the first period.

Letang, who had been penalized for holding Vincent Trocheck, bolted out of the penalty box just as a bouncing puck evaded Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad. Letang had a breakaway, scoring on a forehand-to-backhand move at the 6:30 mark.

With 10:44 elapsed, Jack Johnson fired the puck toward the goal, where Weegar failed to knock it down. Blueger, in fortuitous position behind Weegar, tapped the puck in for a 2-0 lead.

Florida got on the board with 2:38 left in the first as Frank Vatrano’s drop pass found Hoffman, whose shot from the right circle sailed in over Jarry’s right shoulder.

Pittsburgh went up 3-1 with 3:50 expired in the second on Crosby’s power-play deflection of a shot by former Panthers winger Jared McCann.

Florida cut its deficit to 3-2 just 69 seconds later on a goal by Connolly that was set up well by Trocheck’s right-to-left pass. Connolly had eight goals in November but has just five since.

—Field Level Media

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