January 6, 2020 / 12:54 AM / 13 days ago

Panthers, Driedger put Penguins' streak on ice

EditorsNote: Minor tweaks throughout

Jan 5, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad (5) enters the rink to warm up against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Vatrano and Mike Hoffman each had a goal and an assist Sunday as the visiting Florida Panthers topped the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1.

Brett Connolly and Evgenii Dadonov also scored for Florida, which led from about the midway point of the first period on.

Goaltender Chris Driedger made 31 saves for the Panthers, who have won seven of 10 and finished a road trip 2-2-0.

Jared McCann scored for Pittsburgh, which had its five-game point streak (4-0-1) snapped. The Penguins failed to improve on their NHL-best 16 home wins. They also had won eight in a row at home against Florida.

Tristan Jarry, making his ninth start in Pittsburgh’s past 12 games, stopped 31 shots. He had been 6-0-1 in his previous seven starts.

Coach Mike Sullivan missed his first shot at getting his 200th win with Pittsburgh.

Florida opened the scoring at 2:28 of the first. Vatrano broke in from the right point on what wasn’t quite a breakaway as defenseman Kris Letang was on his flank. Vatrano fended off Letang with one hand, muscled a shot with the other, then grabbed the rebound without breaking stride and slipped the puck past Jarry’s right skate.

Pittsburgh tied it 1:24 later on its first shot. Dominik Simon carried the puck on a two-on-one and maneuvered a pass to McCann past the stick of lone defender Josh Brown. McCann got the feed made it 1-1.

Connolly restored the Panthers’ lead, 2-1, at 10:44 of the first. In the slot, Connolly got a feed from Vincent Trocheck — playing in his 400th career game — at the end boards and finished with a shot through traffic and past Jarry’s glove.

After a scoreless second, Hoffman extended Florida’s lead to 3-1 at 8:52 of the third. From above the right hash marks, he launched a shot that zoomed under the crossbar.

Dadonov added an empty-netter with 2:28 left, giving him four goals and five points in the past three games.

—Field Level Media

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