Panthers 2, Penguins 1
MIAMI (AP) _ Backup goaltender Mark Fitzpatrick slowed down Mario Lemieux and Pittsburgh’s high-scoring offense, and the Florida Panthers ended the Penguins’ four-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory Monday night.
Lemieux was held without a point for only the second time in 42 games this season.
Fitzpatrick made 23 saves as Florida’s defense found a way to shut down Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr, who had combined for nine points in two previous Panther losses to Pittsburgh this season. Jagr had the Penguins’ only goal midway through the third period.
Florida beat the Penguins for just the second time in 10 games.
Gord Murphy put the Panthers ahead 1-0 with a slapshot 11 seconds into a power play at 2:52 of the opening period. It was the eighth goal of the season for the defenseman, who left the game in the third period after crashing into the boards.
Penguins goaltender Tom Barrasso got tied up with teammate Niel Wilkinson and Florida’s Scott Mellanby on the play.
The Panthers are 23-4-4 when they score first and 19-0-2 when leading after the first period.
Florida went into a defensive shell after the first goal, squandering four straight power plays, including a five-minute opportunity in the second. Barrasso was a big reason why and finished with 31 saves.
The Panthers went up 2-0 when Rob Niedermayer’s shot from just inside the blue line wiggled between Barrasso’s legs and slowly rolled into the net at 7:57 of the third.
Pittsburgh ended Fitzpatrick’s bid for a seventh career shutout when Jagr scored at 9:43.
But the Penguins never got another clear shot at Fitzpatrick as the Panthers defensemen _ particularly Terry Carkner _ kept Pittsburgh players tied up in the neutral zone and behind the net for much of the rest of the game.