Bobrovsky makes 26 saves, Panthers top Penguins 3-1 for Pittsburgh's 4th straight loss

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 26 shots, Eetu Luostarinen got the go-ahead goal in the third period and the Florida Panthers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 on Friday night.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson also scored a goal and Anton Lundell had two assists for the Panthers, who have won three of their last four games. Aleksander Barkov got an empty-netter to seal the win for Florida.

Former Panthers forward Reilly Smith scored for Pittsburgh, which has dropped a season-high four straight to fall to 11-12-4. Tristan Jarry stopped 30 shots for the Penguins.

“I think our goaltending has been really good this year, but there haven’t been a lot of nights where we needed them to be the dominant player,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said of Bobrovsky. “But tonight, Sergei had to be the difference in the second period because that game is over and there is no coming back if he isn’t as good as he was.”

Up 2-1 with 2:39 left and dominating the third period — shots were 12-2 Florida in that period to that point — Lundell was called for hooking, giving Pittsburgh a golden opportunity. The Penguins hadn't scored in any of their last 36 power plays spanning 14 games since Nov. 11, the worst drought in franchise history.

It started as a 5-on-4, became a 6-on-4 when Jarry went to the bench — and the Penguins came up empty, again. The Panthers killed it off, the 37th consecutive failed power play for Pittsburgh, and Barkov scored with 26.7 seconds left.

“We gave ourselves a chance," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "You've got to do that every night. Doesn’t guarantee anything. But we gave ourselves a chance, and we’ll try to keep getting better here.”

Florida got its first lead of the night with 13:50 left when the puck bounced into the slot off a faceoff and Luostarinen batted it past Jarry to make it 2-1.

Crosby had a chance to tie it for Pittsburgh less than a minute later, stealing a clearing pass deep in the Florida end and skating from Bobrovsky's left toward the net. But Bobrovsky came off the line to narrow the angle and Crosby was denied, preserving the one-goal edge.

“He's such a smart player,” Bobrovsky said of Crosby. “He was able to gain speed from pretty much nothing. I was just able to put the pad out and get lucky there.”

The teams paid tribute pregame to Patric Hornqvist, who won two Stanley Cups with the Penguins in his 15-year NHL career and ended that run with three seasons with the Panthers. He retired after last season and is now a part of the Panthers' front-office staff as scouting and development consultant.

“He just worked so hard and he brought out the best in everybody,” said Crosby, who took part in the pregame ceremony alongside Barkov and Hornqvist's family. “He expected a lot of himself but he also just earned every single thing that he accomplished in his career.”

UP NEXT

Penguins: Host Arizona on Tuesday night, Pittsburgh's only home game in a two-week span.

Panthers: Visit Columbus on Sunday afternoon to start a season-high five-game road trip.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

 

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