for this game

Penguins halt slide, anticipate Crosby's return

Jan 14, 2012 - 4:46 AM
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 25 shots to help Pittsburgh take a 4-1 win over Florida at BankAtlantic Center on Friday.

Pittsburgh got really good news earlier in the day as superstar and captain Sidney Crosby returned to the ice for the first time in more than a month during the day's morning skate.

He has been out since developing concussion-like symptoms following a December 5 game against Boston. It's still unknown when Crosby will be cleared to practice. He said his symptoms are "a lot better" but added that he's not symptom-free.

The 24-year-old missed more than 10 months after suffering a concussion last January, and only returned to action November 21. In eight games played this season, Crosby has two goals and 12 points.

In Friday's game, James Neal, Steve Sullivan, Tyler Kennedy and Evgeni Malkin all scored to help the Penguins snap a season-high six-game losing streak.

"It's obviously a good feeling to get out of a slump like that," said Neal. "We did the right things tonight to get out of this snap and now we have to keep it going."

Michal Repik scored the lone goal for the Panthers, who have lost three of four. Scott Clemmensen was tagged for all four goals on 41 shots.

"They played desperate, worked hard and they out-worked us all night long," said Clemmensen. "Give them credit, they out-worked us and they deserved to win tonight."

After the first period passed without a score, Pittsburgh grabbed the lead 1:49 into the second thanks to a mistake by Clemmensen.

The goaltender grabbed a dump-in behind his net and attempted to get it up ice, but lost control of the puck. Matt Cooke grabbed the gift along the deep right boards and centered it to Sullivan for the easy goal.

In the final minute of the second, Pittsburgh took a 2-0 lead as a 2-on-1 break saw Malkin shoot from the left circle and grab his own rebound behind the net before using a turnaround shot to get it in with 34.8 seconds left.

The Penguins took a 3-0 lead when Kennedy's wrister from the slot beat Clemmensen 36 seconds into the third.

Repik got the Panthers on the board 6:55 into the third as he tipped in a Jason Garrison shot in front, but Neal scored his 22nd of the year on a shot from the left circle with 4:17 to play to seal the win.

Game Notes

Neither team scored on the power play as Pittsburgh had four chances and Florida one...Florida hosts Boston on Monday...Pittsburgh plays in Tampa Bay on Sunday...Pittsburgh has won two of three over Florida this season.