Pens set for clash with Panthers

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, Last Updated: 10:34 AM ET

Three straight shootout victories have proven that Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin aren't the only talented goal-scorers on the Penguins' roster.

Still in the hunt for the Atlantic Division title, Pittsburgh tries to secure a fourth straight victory overall and fifth in a row at home over the Florida Panthers today at CONSOL Energy Center.

The Penguins have knocked off the Red Wings, Flyers and Devils in the shootout over the last week to improve to 8-2-2 in their last 12 games. Currently fourth overall in the Eastern Conference standings with 96 points, Pittsburgh is four behind conference and division-leading Philadelphia, which hosts Boston tonight.

The Penguins have played one more game than the Flyers and will close out their three-game homestand on Tuesday against Philly.

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury went toe-to-toe with one of the NHL's best on Friday, making 21 saves through overtime and another three stops in the tiebreaker to post a 1-0 victory over Martin Brodeur and New Jersey. James Neal had the lone goal of the shootout to give Fleury his third shutout of the season and 19th of his career.

"It was a great 65 minutes; everyone played hard," Fleury said.

Pittsburgh got one healthy body back in forward Mike Comrie, who had missed the past 52 games with a hip injury and played for the first time since Nov. 24. More help will come today as defenseman Brooks Orpik is slated to return from a 13-game absence caused by a hand injury.

Of course, Malkin is out for the season due to right knee surgery and Crosby hasn't played since early January due to a concussion. The Penguins captain did skate again on Friday, but there is still no return date.

The Penguins have won both of their meetings so far versus the Panthers this season, giving them a victory in five of six and 12 of the past 16 meetings. Their 5-2 home win on Dec. 22 in the last meeting was their fourth straight and seventh in the past eight played in the Steel City.

Fleury, though, is just 5-6-0 with a 3.34 goals-against average versus Florida.

While the Penguins continue to chase a playoff spot, the Panthers were eliminated from postseason contention for a 10th straight season with Friday's 4-2 loss to the Sabres. With 68 points, Florida is 14th overall in the East and ahead of only Ottawa and its 67 points.

Sergei Samsonov and Evgeny Dadonov tallied for Florida, which was dealt its fourth consecutive loss and is 3-8-3 in its past 14. Those tallies did represent the Panthers' first goals on its five-game swing. They had been shut out at the Rangers and Blackhawks to begin the trek.

Netminder Tomas Vokoun still felt Florida could have done more on offense.

"We didn't take advantage of our chances," said Vokoun after making 28 saves. "We weren't able to put it in when it mattered."

Florida is expected to have forward David Booth in the lineup today after he was struck in the throat by a puck during the first period. Booth was taken to a Buffalo hospital as a precaution, but did travel to Pittsburgh and practiced on Saturday.

The Panthers have lost five straight on the road and are just 14-21-2 as the guest this season.

Vokoun is 7-9-4 with two ties and 2.74 GAA lifetime versus the Penguins.


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