for this game

Penguins beat Panthers in home opener

Oct 12, 2011 - 4:24 AM
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - No Crosby, no Malkin. No problem.

Pascal Dupuis, Matt Cooke, Richard Park and James Neal each scored a goal, as the Pittsburgh Penguins -- playing without stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin -- downed the Florida Panthers, 4-2.

Malkin joined Crosby -- an expected scratch while he continues to recover from a concussion -- in absentia, missing his second straight game due to an undisclosed lower body injury.

The ailment is reportedly unrelated to last year's knee injury, which required season-ending surgery in February.

"We got some big plays from people on the third and fourth lines," Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma said. "That put us over the edge."

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 32 shots in the Penguins' home opener.

Marcel Goc and Tomas Fleischmann both scored for the Panthers, who got 25 saves from Jose Theodore.

Late in the first period, Pittsburgh grabbed a 1-0 lead when Joe Vitale settled the puck behind the Panthers' net and found Dupuis, who put in his own rebound for the goal.

In the second, Vitale again played facilitator, receiving the puck at the blue line with a head of steam and hitting Cooke with a cross-ice pass for an easy goal.

Florida got on the board less than a minute later, when Jack Skille barreled into the Penguins' zone and threw the puck at the net. Goc, settled in front of Fleury, knocked in the rebound to make it a 2-1 game.

The Panthers found themselves on the power play late in the period, but Fleischmann made a costly turnover behind his own net and Park capitalized with a short-handed goal for a 3-1 lead at the second intermission.

Fleischmann atoned early in the third, beating Fleury with a snap shot to make it a 3-2 game. Stephen Weiss set up the goal with a behind-the-back touch pass.

Neal capped the scoring 6:39 into the period, when he got his stick between two listless Florida defenders and poked home a rebound.

"They kept it simple. They really threw everything at the net and they were there in front of the net taking rebounds," Theodore said about Pittsburgh.

Game Notes

The Penguins have won six straight and nine of 10 over the Panthers at home. They won all four matchups with the Panthers last season...Florida opened its season with a 2-0 victory over the Islanders on Saturday in Kevin Dineen's NHL coaching debut.