Penguins continue home dominance over Panthers

By
Updated: February 22, 2013

Matt Niskanen and Dustin Jeffrey scored in
the third period to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-1 win over the Florida
Panthers at CONSOL Energy Center.

With the teams even at 1-1, the Panthers failed to clear the zone after
killing a penalty and Niskanen fired a slap shot from the blue line that beat
AHL callup Jacob Markstrom at the 7:49 mark.

Jeffrey tapped in Matt Cooke’s cross-ice pass at the left post with 4:45 to
play.

Marc-Andre Fleury turned away 22 shots for the Penguins, who have beaten the
Panthers eight straight times at home.

Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin missed a significant portion of the third after
being driven into the end boards by Florida defenseman Erik Gudbranson. Malkin
stayed down on the ice before skating to the bench on his power.

Markstrom finished with 37 saves for Florida, which has dropped six of seven.

After a scoreless opening frame, the clubs traded goals in the second period.

The Panthers struck first as Mike Weaver’s point shot got past Fleury at the
8:25 mark. The goal was initially credited to standout rookie Jonathan
Huberdeau, who was providing a net-front presence on the play. Replays,
though, deemed the puck never made contact with the 2011 No. 3 overall pick.

Pittsburgh responded a little over two minutes later behind its sizzling power
play, with Chris Kunitz poking a puck through Markstrom from close range at
10:41. His goal gave the Penguins a tally with the man advantage in 10
straight contests.

Game Notes

The Penguins improved to 8-3-0 in February … Florida lost for the first time
in regulation this season when tied after two periods (2-1-3) … Markstrom
made his season debut after being recalled from the San Antonio Rampage on
Wednesday. The 31st pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, Markstrom was 16-15-2 with a
2.65 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage in the minors this
season … Weaver found the back of the net for the first time since Jan. 25,
2011, snapping a 131-game goal drought.