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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, February 22nd (All times Eastern)
Florida Panthers (5-7-4) at Pittsburgh Penguins (11-6-0), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Florida Panthers will try to put together consecutive wins for the first time in weeks when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins for Friday's battle at CONSOL Energy Center.
The Panthers earned a road victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, ending an 0-2-3 stretch with a 5-2 rout at Wells Fargo Center. Another victory on Friday would give Florida back-to-back triumphs for only the second time this season. The last time came when the Panthers defeated Winnipeg and Buffalo on Jan. 31 and Feb. 3, respectively.
Rookie Jonathan Huberdeau had two goals and two assists to help lead the Panthers to the easy win in Philadelphia. Huberdeau is leading all NHL rookies with eight goals and his 13 points is second only to Tampa Bay's Cory Conacher.
Peter Mueller also scored twice for the Panthers and Tomas Kopecky had the other goal to help the Panthers halt a five-game skid.
Scott Clemmensen made 32 saves while picking up his first win of the season. He improved to 5-1-1 lifetime against Philadelphia.
Florida jumped out to a 3-0 lead by scoring three times during a two-minute stretch in the opening period. The Panthers would add another goal in the second to make it 4-0 before allowing the Flyers to get on the board twice in the final 20 minutes.
"It's always nice when you're up 3-0, that's for sure," Mueller said. "Hopefully this game will be a kicking start for us, and we get right back at it tomorrow. So, there's not much time to enjoy this, but we'll get ready for Pittsburgh tomorrow."
The Panthers are 3-4-1 as the guest this season and two of those victories came in Philadelphia. However, Florida has lost its last seven games in Pittsburgh and has managed only one win in 11 trips to the Steel City.
The Penguins had won three straight before falling to the rival Philadelphia Flyers in a wild game Wednesday night in the Steel City. Pittsburgh jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period but eventually lost by a 6-5 score in regulation.
Pittsburgh rallied from a 5-3 deficit in the latter stages of the third period to tie the game with 2:03 left, but Jakub Voracek scored the game-winner for the Flyers just 32 seconds later. Voracek tallied three times to record the first hat trick of his career.
Matt Niskanen, James Neal, Evgeni Malkin, Brandon Sutter and Tyler Kennedy scored for the Penguins, who fell to 3-4-0 as the home team this season. Tomas Vokoun was shelled in defeat for six goals on 32 shots.
Only 32 seconds after Sutter tied the game on a wraparound, Voracek's sharp- angle try from the goal line to Vokoun's left managed to sneak off his body and over the goal line for a 6-5 game with 91 seconds to play.
"He just shot it from behind the net, and I knocked it in my own net. That's tough," said Vokoun about the deciding score.
Regular starter Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to get the call in net on Friday. He is 9-6-0 with a 2.71 goals against average in 16 career games against the Panthers.
Friday's game is the middle test of a three-game homestand for Pittsburgh, which will also host Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Pittsburgh has won seven of eight and 10 of its last 12 encounters with the Panthers.
02/22 10:34:27 ET
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