Pittsburgh 2 – Florida 1 (SO)
The Pittsburgh Penguins played in their fourth straight shootout and were victorious for the fourth straight game.
Marc Andre Fleury made 37 saves and Ben Lovejoy scored in regulation, while Alex Kovalev, James Neal scored in the shootout, leading Pittsburgh to a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Sunday afternoon at the Consol Energy Center.
Fleury was 2-for-2 in the shootout, stopping Mike Santorelli and Niclas Bergfors and Alex Kovalev, the Penguins 2nd shooter, scored the decisive goal, a beautiful one, as Pittsburgh improved to 9-2-2 in their last 13 games.
Fleury earned his 34th victory of the season and is 6-2-0 in his last 8 starts. Fleury set a franchise record today with a shutout streak of 150:13. Jocelyn Thiabault held the previous franchise record of 136:13.
The Panthers whose playoff hopes were officially dashed on Friday night, came to play and were the better team for much of the game.
The Penguins though got an excellent performance for Fleury who helped Pittsburgh steal two points. Pittsburgh was out-shot 38-28 and only collected 13 shots through two periods.
The Penguins continue to put heat on the Philadelphia Flyers (45-19-10, 100 pts), who host the Boston Bruins (41-23-10, 92 pts) tonight. The two rivals meet for the final time this season on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.
Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik returned to the lineup after missing 13 games. Orpik logged 20:54 of ice time, collecting 4 hits and was a minus-1.
Ben Lovejoy who has elevated himself into the No. 6 spot over Deryk Engelland, has scored 2 of his 3 goals against Florida this season.
Lovejoy’s second period goal was a big one for Pittsburgh and the Penguins first goal in a span of 146 minutes, 8 seconds.
Lovejoy was the games No. 3 star. Fleury earned the games No. 1 star and Alex Kovalev was the games No. 2 star, collecting an assist and scoring the game winning goal in the shootout.
Pittsburgh continues to struggle on the power play and went 0-for-3 in the game. Pittsburgh is 3 for their last 55 on the power play.
Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun stopped 23 of 24 shots in regulation but was forced to leave the game and did not play in overtime of the shootout. Scott Clemmensen replaced Vokoun…..
Pittsburgh struggled mightily on face-offs. Jordan Staal and Mike Rupp were a combined 11-for-30…..
Penguins forward Mike Comrie appeared in his second straight game. Comrie had 0 points and was a minus-1 in 10:19 of ice time…
James Neal has scored a shootout goal in 3 of the last 4 games….Kris Letang has not scored in 8 tries, his longest drought of his career….
According to the Penguins, the team has set an NHL record with four straight shootout wins…..