PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — The Penguins started off their home schedule right at the CONSOL Energy Center, beating the Florida Panthers, 4-2.
The team came away with the win without stars Sidney Crosby – still recovering from a concussion – and Evgeni Malkin who had “soreness,” according to head coach Dan Bylsma.
Matt Cooke tallied his third goal this season. This was his first home game since his season-ending suspension last spring.
Pascal Dupuis, James Neal and Richard Park also had goals for the Pens.
The team’s third line with Cooke, Joe Vitale and Dupuis has been successful.
“A game that wasn’t perfect and we were a little sloppy at times, we got some big plays from you know, people in the third and fourth lines – in particular that line – they put us over the edge,” Bylsma said.
Dupuis buried his own rebound at the side of the net at 14:47 in the first with assists from Vitale and Kris Letang.
Then, Vitale’s backhand blind pass across the crease to Cooke in the second gave the Pens a 2-0 lead. Park’s short-handed goal made it 3-1 after Florida’s Marcel Goc got one past Marc-Andre Fleury who had 32 saves.
Tomas Fleischmann picked up a goal at 3:16 in the third, but about three minutes later, Neal scored his second goal of the season with assists by Jordan Staal and Chris Kunitz to make it 4-2.
The Penguins will host the Washington Capitals at 7 p.m. Thursday night.