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(Friday, October 11th)
Final Score: Florida 6, Pittsburgh 3
Sunrise, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov each scored on a two-man advantage early in the second period, helping the Florida Panthers to a successful home opener while handing the Pittsburgh Penguins their first loss of the season with a 6-3 win Friday at BB&T Center.
Brad Boyes scored twice, Tomas Fleischmann added a goal and three assists, and Barkov finished with a pair of helpers for the Panthers, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
"Right now I'm definitely feeling good," Boyes said. "It's about opportunities and when you get them, capitalize on them. It's been good that it's been happening so far."
Jacob Markstrom made 36 saves in the victory.
Jeff Zatkoff made his NHL debut between the pipes for Pittsburgh and gave up all six goals on 30 shots.
"It was good to get in, but not the way I planned for it to go," Zatkoff said. "I need to make a few more saves in critical times in the game. I wasn't able to do that. That was the difference. I have to be better."
Craig Adams, Evgeni Malkin and Pascal Dupuis each scored once for the Penguins, who were playing their first road game after opening the season with a 3-0 homestand.
With the game tied 2-2 early in the second, Pittsburgh's Paul Martin was whistled for interference at the 6:08 mark before teammate Joe Vitale went off for tripping 26 seconds later to provide the Panthers with a lengthy two-man advantage.
Florida took full advantage of the extended power play, with Huberdeau and Barkov each lighting the lamp in a 1:06 span to put the Panthers in front.
Huberdeau's tip-in tally off a Kris Versteeg wrister made it 3-2 at 7:08. Barkov later threw a pass in front from the low left side that deflected off a Pittsburgh defender and snuck through the legs of Zatkoff for a 4-2 cushion.
Dupuis trimmed the deficit in half just under four minutes later when he buried a wrister from the low left circle off a deft drop pass from Sidney Crosby to bring Pittsburgh within one heading into the final period.
Fleischmann found the back of the net 6:27 into the third to extend the lead, as he wristed a shot from the top of the left circle that caught Zatkoff in the mask. With the Pittsburgh netminder stunned, Fleischmann followed his own shot and pounded in the rebound to restore the Panthers' two-goal cushion.
Markstrom made 11 saves over the final 20 minutes to keep Florida in front, while Boyes' power-play marker with 33.8 seconds remaining accounted for the final margin.
Early on, Boyes' wrister from the right circle beat Zatkoff to the short side just 1:55 in to put the Panthers on top, but Malkin answered with a quick wrister at 5:38 to even the score.
Versteeg gave Florida a 2-1 lead with a one-timer from the right circle at 9:10, but the Penguins countered again, with Adams poking in a rebound amid a scrum in front to tie the game with 3:11 left in the opening frame.
The Penguins had won five straight road openers ... The Panthers won their fourth straight home opener ... Florida finished 2-for-4 on the man advantage after entering the game a woeful 1-for-21 on the power play ... Pittsburgh went 0-for-3 on the power play.
10/11 23:59:23 ET
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