The Penguins got the first two shots on goal as the game went live. At the four minute mark, Sean Bergenheim and Mikael Samuelsson teamed up to notch a few shots on Marc Andre Fleury, but no dice.
Brian Campbell looked pretty crafty dishing the puck throughout Pittsburgh’s zone, tapping the ice like he was going to tee up on Fleury only to pass it to Jason Garrison. Florida’s puck possession is looking better than in recent days past.
With four minutes remaining, Pascal Dupuis was called for tripping Tomas Fleischmann. The Panthers pulled Jose Theodore for the extra attacker, but the Penguins touched the puck before Florida could set up.
On the power play, Wojtek Wolski fed it to a kneeling Tomas Kopecky right through the goal mouth, but he could not connect. The Panthers kept the puck in the Pittsburgh zone for almost the whole two minutes, but couldn’t score on Fleury. As the power play ended, Stephen Weiss fed Campbell right in the crease in front of an empty spot in net, but Campbell fanned on the puck.
Tomas Fleischmann (21) buried a rebound off a Wojtek Wolski shot to get the Cats on the board at the seven minute mark. It was Florida’s first goal in 92 minutes of ice time, and only the second time in the last 10 games the Panthers have scored first.
Matt Cooke and Fleischmann were each called for roughing halfway through the second period, and the action was four-on-four for two minutes of exciting overtime hockey.
Jack Skille and Jason Garrison each had a pretty good shot on Fleury as Florida tried to add to their paper thin lead against the high powered Pens, but neither could fool the notorious Panther killer.
Fleischmann stole a pass in the defensive zone and rushed up the ice, but was foiled at the last moment by Brooks Orpik and by Fleury’s quick kick save.
Tomas Kopecky inadvertently slapped the puck right off Brian Strait’s face at the two minute mark. A minute later, Jordan Staal stole the puck and fed a streaking Steve Sullivan (14), who tucked the puck between Jose Theodore’s pads to tie the score at one.
Krys Barch was called for a double minor high sticking penalty on Craig Adams with 16 minutes remaining in regulation. In the first two minutes, the Penguins managed on shot on goal while the Panthers cleared the puck out thrice, John Madden getting a shot on goal on the second. The second half of the power play saw the Cats clear the puck four more times and Theodore making two more saves.
The Penguins appeared to go ahead with 11 minutes remaining when Pascal Dupuis scored on a second effort stuff back on Theodore. The referee on ice initially called it a goal, but was overturned after a review. It appeared on replay as if the puck never crossed the goal line.
The Panthers withstood a last second barrage by the Penguins as time ran out, and the teams would need a bonus frame to decide things.
Each team had their share of chances, Eric Staal actually beat Theodore for what would have been the game winner if not for the quick stick work of Jason Garrison, back on defense. Pittsburgh took three shots to Florida’s two, but the teams would need the skills competition to decide things in Steel City tonight.
Chris Neal started things out for the Penguins, beating Theodore high over the glove side.
Wojtek Wolski missed wide right for Florida.
Evgeny Malkin skated up to Theodore, slowly, then beating him high over the glove side.
Mikael Samuelsson faked Fleury out of his skates, but missed the open net to extend things.
Hits: Panthers, 34-25 (Craig Adams, Chris Kunitz and Brooks Orpik had four each for the Pens, Krys Barch led Florida with five)
Blocked Shots: Penguins, 17-15 (Brooks Orpik blocked five shots for Pittsburgh, Jason Garrison, Ed Jovanovski and Mike Weaver blocked three each for the Panthers)
Faceoffs: Penguins, 34-16 (Jordan Stall went 15-of-20 for the Penguins, Stephen Weiss won eight-of-21 for Florida)
Shots on Goal: Penguins, 34-29 (Tomas Fleischmann took six shots for Florida, Tyler Kennedy led Pittsburgh with six)
Score: Penguins 2, Panthers 1, SO