Thu, Oct 13, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Weak Penguins still overpower solid Panthers

Reuters and AP, LOS ANGELES and PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania

The Penguins’ Pascal Dupuis, second right, scores against Panthers goaltender Jose Theodore, second left, as Erik Gudbranson, left, tries to -defend the goal during the first period of their game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday.

Photo: Reuters

The Pittsburgh Penguins are getting the hang of playing without two of their top players as they overcame key absences to beat the Florida Panthers 4-2 in their home opener on Tuesday.

With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin sidelined, as they were for much of the second half of last season, the Penguins got 32 saves from Marc-Andre Fleury and goals from four different players to improve to 3-0-1 at the start of the season.

“We have pretty much the same group [as last year]. We all know the system and we play together the right way,” Pittsburgh’s Pascal Dupuis told reporters. “It was good to win at home.”

Dupuis and Matt Cooke gave the Penguins an early 2-0 lead, while Richard Park scored in the second period and James Neal added a goal in the third to hand the Panthers their first loss.

After Marcel Goc scored at 12 minutes, 6 seconds in the second to pull Florida within a goal, Tomas Fleischmann’s snap shot early in the third cut the deficit to 3-2 before Neal put the game away.

Goaltender Jose Theodore, who signed with the Panthers (1-1-0) in the off-season, was coming off a shutout win in his debut with the team on Saturday, but could not duplicate the effort and made 25 saves in the loss.

Malkin missed his second straight game because of a lower-body injury while Crosby is still working his way back from a concussion suffered last season.

“I think we got a little confidence from last year knowing we can win without them,” Fleury told reporters. “We want them to come back as soon as possible, and it would be great to have them with us, but we’ve got to find ways to hold together, contribute and get some wins.”

Senators 4, Wild 3

In Ottawa, Daniel Alfredsson scored Ottawa’s third straight shootout goal as the Senators rallied to beat Minnesota in the home opener of their 20th season.

Ottawa’s Milan Michalek and Jason Spezza also scored in the tiebreaker.

Kyle Brodziak and Devin Setoguchi gave Minnesota a 2-0 lead in the first before Nick Foligno pulled a goal back for the Senators.

Nick Johnson restored the Wild’s two-goal margin 1 minute, 56 seconds into the third, but goals from Chris Neil and Colin Greening forced overtime.

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