NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, January 20th (All times Eastern)
Florida Panthers (18-23-7) at Pittsburgh Penguins (34-12-2), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The well-rested Pittsburgh Penguins will try to extend the franchise record for consecutive home wins on Monday when they host the Florida Panthers in a clash at CONSOL Energy Center.
Pittsburgh hasn't played since Wednesday, when it rallied for a 4-3 win over the visiting Washington Capitals. The comeback victory marked the 13th straight win for the Pens on home ice and broke the record of 12 set from Feb. 22-March 30 last season.
All told, the Penguins are 20-3-0 in the Steel City this season and they have an excellent chance at improving that mark on Monday. Not only has Pittsburgh had four days of rest heading into this matchup, but the club also has won eight straight and 11 of its last 12 home games against the Panthers.
Florida has split the last four overall meetings with the Pens, but Pittsburgh has 10 wins in the past 13 encounters in this series.
Pittsburgh is playing the middle portion of a three-game homestand tonight and will close the residency Wednesday against Montreal.
The Pens improved to 5-0-1 in January after Wednesday's thrilling win over the Capitals. Pittsburgh trailed 3-2 after an Alex Ovechkin goal with 11:25 left in the third but Jussi Jokinen scored three minutes later to tie it at 3-3, setting up Olli Maatta's game-winner with 1:54 remaining.
Kris Letang and Taylor Pyatt also scored for the Penguins, who have won 19 of their last 23 games and hold a 13-point lead atop the Atlantic Division. Marc- Andre Fleury earned the win with 25 saves.
"Even though it didn't go our way at times, got down in the third, we kept fighting back and it was a great way to get the 13th win," said Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma.
Pens forward James Neal could be back Monday after sitting out the last game with an upper-body injury. Defenseman Paul Martin, who hasn't played since fracturing his tibia on Nov. 25, is also questionable for tonight's contest.
Florida has lost its last two games in regulation and has dropped eight of its past 12 outings (4-6-2). The Panthers were tied with Carolina after two periods on Saturday, but Alexander Semin scored twice over the final 20 minutes for the Hurricanes to lift them to a 3-2 home decision.
Marcel Goc and Dmitry Kulikov had the goals for the Panthers, while Tim Thomas made 36 stops.
"We made mistakes that were preventable," Thomas said. "That's what's frustrating to me right now."
Florida started a three-game road trip on Saturday and has lost four of its last five on the road. The Panthers are 8-13-3 as the visiting team this season.
01/20 10:43:15 ET