for this game

Anderson, Panthers win third straight, defeat Penguins

Mar 7, 2008 - 5:23 AM
By Michael Snyder PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) -- Thanks to his teammates, Craig Anderson did not have to be perfect against one of the Eastern Conference's top teams.

Anderson had his scoreless streak snapped but stopped 25 shots as the Panthers posted a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.

David Booth, Stephen Weiss and Brett McLean each had a goal and an assist and Rostislav Olesz and defenseman Bryan Allen also tallied for Florida (31-31-8), which snapped a five-game losing streak against Pittsburgh and remained six points behind Philadelphia (34-26-8) for eighth place in the East.

"The win was huge," Weiss said. "Anytime you can get an early two-goal lead, it gives you a lot of confidence. We had a good start and were able to continue right through the game."

Ryan Malone and defenseman Kris Letang scored for the Penguins (38-24-7), who remained one point in front of the idle New Jersey Devils (38-23-6) for first place in the Atlantic Division. However, Montreal (37-22-9) posted a 4-2 victory over Phoenix on Thursday to pull even in points with Pittsburgh atop the conference.

A backup to All-Star Tomas Vokoun, Anderson entered having posted consecutive shutouts and recorded 105 straight saves overall. The netminder also had won his previous three starts but had his scoreless streak halted at 150 minutes, 20 seconds when Ryan Malone tallied at 6:19 of the first period in this one.

"When the Penguins scored, it actually was a big weight off my chest," Anderson said. "There was a little bit of pressure behind the streak. It's just great that we came back with a big win out there."

The Panthers scored quickly to control the game from the outset.

Booth skated in from the slot and wristed a shot that beat netminder Marc-Andre Fleury low to his glove side at 4:19 of the first period. It was the 20th goal of the season for the 2004 second-round pick, who netted three in 48 games as a rookie in 2006-07.

Just 39 seconds later, McLean sent the puck in front from the right faceoff circle. It bounced off Fleury before Olesz, who was hovering on the doorstep, was able to swat in the empty left side of the net to double the advantage.

"It was important (to have a fast start)," Panthers coach Jacques Martin said. "I think, from a standpoint, you're at home and you want to set the tone. ... We wanted to be aggressive and physical."

The Penguins halved the deficit when Malone slipped a backhander between Anderson's pads for his 24th of the season.

However, Weiss regained Florida's two-goal advantage late in the first, when he came out from behind the net and backhanded a shot past Fleury with 2:06 left.

"That's the way you score in this league - just get pucks at the net and get rebounds," Booth said. "That's how the majority of the goals come by."

McLean made it 4-1 early in the second period. After a scramble in front of the net, McLean - while falling to the ice - wristed the puck past netminder Ty Conklin at 3:34.

Letang scored on a power play at 9:02 of the middle session, but Allen sealed the win with 52 seconds remaining in the third.

Florida also did a good job of controlling All-Stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, who combined to record one assist.

"We did a good job in the neutral zone," Panthers right wing Radek Dvorak said. "We didn't give them any chances on the rush.

"When you play guys like Crosby and Malkin, the last thing you want to do is give them turnovers near the blue line. We did a good job with that tonight. That's why we kept them off the scoreboard."

Crosby was playing in his second game after missing the previous 21 with a high ankle sprain.

"If you don't come with the right mind set no matter where you are in the game, it doesn't matter, you're not going to produce," Crosby said. "We're just not sharp right now. You don't like to miss chances, especially now, when the games are so important. We've just got to find a way to execute."

Anderson, who stopped 17 shots over the first two periods, turned aside all eight he faced in the third. However, Martin was non-committal about whether Anderson or Vokoun would start Saturday against Atlanta.

"I just want to do what's best for the team," Anderson said. "If he wants to put (Vokoun) back in and get him going again, I'm totally cool with that. It doesn't matter who's in net. We're going to keep winning if the guys keep playing the way they're playing."

Vokoun has struggled recently, going 0-4-2 in his last six starts.

Fleury made 16 saves before being replaced at the start of the second by Conklin, who stopped 21 of the 22 shots he faced.

"I'm not going to try to diagnose it," Conklin said. "But our job is to stop the puck, plain and simple, regardless of how many shots we give up."

Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien claimed he was just trying to change the momentum when he made the goalie switch.

"I'm starting to get concerned," Therrien said. "We lost a lot of battles. If you lose battles in front, there is a good chance you are going to lose the game."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 1 1 0 2
    FLORIDA 3 1 1 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: FLA - DAVID BOOTH 20 (STEPHEN WEISS, NATHAN HORTON) 4:19
    FLA - ROSTISLAV OLESZ 12 (BRETT MCLEAN, OLLI JOKINEN) 4:58
    PIT - RYAN MALONE 24 (HAL GILL, PETR SYKORA) 6:19
    FLA - STEPHEN WEISS 11 (DAVID BOOTH, MAGNUS JOHANSS

    Mar 6 9:58 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 2
    FLORIDA 5
    3RD PRD: FLA - (EN) BRYAN ALLEN 2 (UNASSISTED) 19:09

    Penguins 2, Panthers 5  3rd - 0:51Mar 6 9:56 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 1 1 2
    FLORIDA 3 1 4 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: FLA - DAVID BOOTH 20 (STEPHEN WEISS, NATHAN HORTON) 4:19
    FLA - ROSTISLAV OLESZ 12 (BRETT MCLEAN, OLLI JOKINEN) 4:58
    PIT - RYAN MALONE 24 (HAL GILL, PETR SYKORA) 6:19
    FLA - STEPHEN WEISS 11 (DAVID BOOTH, M

    Mar 6 9:07 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 2
    FLORIDA 4
    2ND PRD: PIT - KRISTOPHER LETANG 5 (SERGEI GONCHAR, SIDNEY CROSBY)
    9:02

    Penguins 2, Panthers 4  2nd - 10:58Mar 6 8:50 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 1
    FLORIDA 4
    2ND PRD: FLA - BRETT MCLEAN 11 (OLLI JOKINEN, BRYAN ALLEN) 3:34

    Penguins 1, Panthers 4  2nd - 16:26Mar 6 8:40 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 1 1
    FLORIDA 3 3 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: FLA - DAVID BOOTH 20 (STEPHEN WEISS, NATHAN HORTON) 4:19
    FLA - ROSTISLAV OLESZ 12 (BRETT MCLEAN, OLLI JOKINEN) 4:58
    PIT - RYAN MALONE 24 (HAL GILL, PETR SYKORA) 6:19
    FLA - STEPHEN WEISS 11 (DAVID BOOTH) 1

    Mar 6 8:18 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 1
    FLORIDA 3
    1ST PRD: FLA - STEPHEN WEISS 11 (DAVID BOOTH) 17:54

    Penguins 1, Panthers 3  1st - 2:06Mar 6 8:14 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 1
    FLORIDA 2
    1ST PRD: PIT - RYAN MALONE 24 (HAL GILL, PETR SYKORA) 6:19

    Penguins 1, Panthers 2  1st - 13:41Mar 6 7:53 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 0
    FLORIDA 2
    1ST PRD: FLA - ROSTISLAV OLESZ 12 (BRETT MCLEAN, OLLI JOKINEN) 4:58

    Penguins 0, Panthers 2  1st - 15:02Mar 6 7:50 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 0
    FLORIDA 1
    1ST PRD: FLA - DAVID BOOTH 20 (STEPHEN WEISS, NATHAN HORTON) 4:19

    Penguins 0, Panthers 1  1st - 15:41Mar 6 7:46 PM
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