|Date of game: 12/20/2014
Recap: Pittsburgh vs. Florida
Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Derrick Pouliot scored in his NHL debut, Marc-Andre Fleury made 45 saves and the Pittsburgh Penguins topped the Florida Panthers 3-1 on Saturday night in the first of a home-and-home set.
Sidney Crosby and Nick Spaling also scored in the Penguins' fifth consecutive home win. They are 5-0-2 in their last seven games overall.
Pittsburgh native Vincent Trocheck provided the lone goal for Florida, which had played beyond regulation in its previous four games, winning three in shootouts and losing the other in overtime.
Despite the loss, Panthers coach Gerard Gallant was pleased with his team's effort.
"If we play like that every night, I think we will win more games than we lose. I was really happy with our group tonight," Gallant said.
Roberto Luongo stopped 31 shots in defeat.
Spaling fooled Luongo with a knuckler from the left point, giving the Penguins a 1-0 lead 1:48 into the game.
Pouliot, a defenseman selected eighth overall by Pittsburgh in the 2012 draft, took a cross-ice pass from Steve Downie and beat Luongo high on the glove side with a shot from the bottom of the right circle at 6:56 of the first period.
"It's incredible. You dream about that moment happening," Pouliot said about scoring his first NHL goal.
Just 35 seconds later, Trocheck tipped a long shot by Jonathan Huberdeau past Fleury for a power-play goal.
Crosby made it 3-1 at 7:01 of the third period with a redirection from a sharp angle to Luongo's right.Game Notes
Pittsburgh forward Chris Kunitz returned to the lineup after missing eight
games with a foot fracture ... Forward Craig Adams didn't play because of an
undisclosed injury, ending the longest ironman streak in Penguins history at
319 games ... Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson played in his 200th career
game ... The Panthers will host the Penguins on Monday.