Final

Series (Game 4 of 4)

Florida leads 4-0

Game 1: Friday, November 7th
Penguins3Final
Panthers6
Game 2: Saturday, November 15th
Panthers3Final
Penguins2
Game 3: Thursday, February 12th
Penguins1Final
Panthers5
Game 4: Friday, February 20th
Panthers2Final
Penguins0

Panthers 2

(21-25-3, 57 pts)

Penguins 0

(11-41-4, 31 pts)

7:30 PM ET, February 20, 2004

Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1 2 3 T
FLA 0 2 02
PIT 0 0 00

R. Luongo (Panthers - G): Saves: 34, Save Pct.: 1.000

J. Kolnik (Panthers - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

K. Huselius (Panthers - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Luongo stops 34 shots for shutout

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are threatening to take losing to a new level in the NHL, even if they don't wind up with multiple entries in the record book.

Roberto Luongo stopped 34 shots for his 20th career shutout and the Florida Panthers ran Pittsburgh's league-record home losing streak to 13 games, winning 2-0 Friday night.

The Penguins lost their 17th straight game, which would have equaled the league record if they hadn't gained a point in Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss at St. Louis. Regardless, they could become the first NHL team to lose 18 consecutive games in a season if they lose Sunday at home to Ottawa.

"It's frustrating to be on a skid like this," rookie defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "We're just not getting the results we need right now. It's disheartening."

A loss or tie Sunday would equal the club record for longest winless streak, set when the Penguins went 0-17-1 from Jan. 2, 1983 through Feb. 10, 1983.

"We are in a team in an unbelievably tough stretch, and it certainly makes it more difficult," coach Eddie Olczyk said. "But not at any time did we feel like we were out of the game, and I think you could tell by the players' effort."

Kristian Huselius and Juraj Kolnik scored second-period goals against rookie goalie Andy Chiodo to help Florida win for the first time in four games (1-2-1) on its six-game road trip. The Panthers went 4-0 against the Penguins this season and have won nine straight against them, outscoring them 36-13.

Luongo, who might be an MVP candidate if he played for a team higher in the standings, won his eighth straight against the Penguins after starting his career 1-6-1 against them.

"It's not the same team anymore. Lately things have been going well against them and you want that streak to continue every time," Luongo said. "A few years ago, they had five or six superstars and every time on the ice you had to beware of them."

Luongo, who faces a league-high average of 34.5 shots per game, made key saves during important stretches, such as when Florida killed off two power plays resulting from Mathieu Biron penalties 2{ minutes apart midway through the third period. Luongo has stopped 75 of 76 shots in his last two games, including Wednesday's 1-1 tie with Buffalo.

Pittsburgh was 0-for-5 on the power play.

"I got lucky a couple of times, they hit a couple of posts and one time they tipped it and it went off my pads," Luongo said. "Some nights go well for you, you know?"

After allowing 13 power-play goals in their previous five games, the Penguins were beaten on two even-strength goals about 10 minutes apart in the second period.

Huselius made it 1-0 less than two minutes into the period with his eighth goal, a backhander from the edge of the left circle with defenseman Marc Bergevin positioned between him and Chiodo.

Kolnik scored his 10th goal unassisted midway through the period, stealing the puck from defenseman Dan Focht in the neutral zone and beating Chiodo with a wrist shot as Focht tried frantically to catch up.

"I was looking to pass, but the D-man slid down and I didn't even look at the net, I just put it on net," Kolnik said. "I didn't even see where the goalie was."

Chiodo, 20 and the Penguins' third rookie goalie this season, played well in only his second NHL game, making 30 saves. He has stopped 60 of 66 shots since being recalled from the AHL earlier this week.

"We could have had that game," Chiodo said. "If I could have gotten a couple (of shots) back, it would have been a different game." ^Notes:@ The Penguins have been outscored 57-17 during their home losing streak. Until this season, no NHL team had lost more than 11 in a row at home in a season. ... Florida went 4-0 against Pittsburgh with three coaches: Mike Keenan (1-0), Rick Dudley (1-0) and John Torchetti (2-0). ... Despite winning, Florida is nine points out of the Eastern Conference's last playoff spot. ... Florida has scored only six goals in four games. ... Florida was 0-for-4 on the power play and is 3-for-42 in its last 11 games. ... Luongo's shutout was his fourth this season and first since Jan. 3 against Columbus.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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