PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The hurricane-weary Florida Panthers had
plenty on their minds besides hockey, but still had enough to rally
and win on a night Sidney Crosby seemed determined to get
Pittsburgh's first victory of the season by himself.
Stephen Weiss' slap shot from the right faceoff dot eluded
Pittsburgh goalie Jocelyn Thibault on a power play 53 seconds into
overtime and the Panthers extended the Penguins' season-long
winless streak to nine games by winning 4-3 Tuesday night.
The Panthers flew to Pittsburgh one day early because of
Hurricane Wilma and admittedly were distracted during practice
Monday as players worried about their families in south Florida.
They will return home after playing in Philadelphia on Thursday,
but are now on what becomes a six-game road trip because Saturday's
scheduled home game against Washington has already been postponed.
"I think for a lot of the game, we tried not to think about
what's going on back home -- and that's tough to do," said Martin
Gelinas, who scored the Panthers' second goal. "So this is a big
And a big two points that got away from the Penguins, who led
3-2 on goals by Dick Tarnstrom and Lasse Pirjeta in the third
before Florida tied it on Lukas Krajicek's power-play goal with 2½
minutes remaining in regulation.
Penguins owner-captain Mario Lemieux then drew a disputed
interference penalty in the final 17 seconds of the period that
carried into the overtime, and Weiss took advantage of it to score
his first of the season. An agitated Lemieux yelled at referees
Stephane Auger and Dan O'Halloran as he left the ice.
Lemieux didn't talk after the game, but coach Eddie Olczyk said,
"When he was that disgusted, to be as animated as he was, just
shows to me there was no way it was a penalty."
Pittsburgh is 0-4-5, the longest season-opening stretch in its
39-season history without winning, and it has dropped its last 10
against Florida dating to the 2001-02 season. The Penguins have
been the NHL's only winless team for a week and a half, and every
other team had at least two victories before Tuesday.
The Penguins lost despite having a 12-7 advantage in power
plays, mostly because the 18-year-old Crosby drew six penalties by
himself. But Pittsburgh was only 2-of-12 with the man advantage,
while Florida was 2-of-7.
"That's part of my job, to create some chances for us," said
Crosby, one of the few Penguins players who talked afterward. "We
did everything we could except win."
Panthers captain Olli Jokinen openly questioned whether the
officials were doing everything they could to protect Crosby and
Lemieux, though Lemieux might dispute that notion.
"We got a penalty every time we tried to take a puck off
them," Jokinen said. "In the new NHL, special teams will win or
lose you games. For a while it looked the other way around for us,
but we bounced back."
Crosby assisted on Ryan Malone's power-play goal in the first
period, his 10th assist in nine games, yet the Penguins trailed 2-1
despite owning a 10-minute advantage in power-play time in that
period alone. Florida spent more time on the penalty kill than it
did in 5-on-5 play in the first.
Still, Nathan Horton and Gelinas scored in the first for the
Panthers, and the lead held up until Pirjeta tied it with his first
shot of the game -- he played fewer than two minutes in the first
two periods -- early in the third period.
Crosby then drew Jay Bouwmeester's hooking penalty several
minutes later, and Tarnstrom scored 22 seconds later on the power
play to put the Penguins up 3-2.
The Panthers got 38 saves from goalie Roberto Luongo, who kept
the Panthers in the game despite successive 5-on-3 Penguins
advantages in the first period. Thibault made 30 saves after
bringing an 0-3 record and 6.30 goals-against average into the
"It's a game you say that he wins the game for us," coach
Jacques Martin said of Luongo.
The Capitals-Panthers game was postponed because power has
not yet been restored at Florida's arena. ... The Penguins are
0-4-3 when trailing after two periods. ... Pittsburgh had never
previously gone longer than the seventh game of a season before
winning. ... Pittsburgh has lost its last five at home to Florida.
... Penguins F Andre Roy will miss at least two weeks with a broken
orbital bone. He was injured Saturday at Boston.