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Kris Letang had a goal and an assist, and the Pittsburgh Penguins extended their winning streak to seven games with a 4-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Thursday at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Fla.

They were Letang’s first points in three games since suffering a stroke on Nov. 28.

“Especially the first game, me and [associate coach Todd Reirden] I was talking just to see how I felt,” Letang said. “But when you settle into games and training, your condition goes up and I can get back into the minutes I’m playing.”

Video: [email protected] Letang ties the game in the 2nd period

Yevgeny Malkin had a goal and an assist before leaving with an injury in the third period, Jake Guentzel scored twice, and Tristan Jarry made 32 saves for the Penguins (18-8-4), who are 12-1-1 in their last 14 games.

Ryan Lomberg and: Sam Rinehart scored a goal and Sergey Bobrovsky made 35 saves for the Panthers (14-13-4), who have lost four of their last six.

Forward Matthew Tkachuk did not play due to a non-COVID illness. Florida played with 11 forwards and six defensemen.

“Five-on-5, I think they played off their backs to a short guy,” Panthers coach Paul Morris said. “It was a sprint game. There was no way to play it other than full game. I thought we played 5-on-5 tonight against a pretty good team.”

Malkin slapped Sidney Crosby out on his right knee on the power play to give Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead at 8:05 of the third. Malkin was helped off the ice without putting pressure on his leg.

Video: [email protected] Malkin scores his 10th goal of the season in the 3rd

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan did not provide an update, but said the initial prognosis is positive.

“It’s a fun way to score, but a goal is a goal,” Sullivan said.

Crosby said he hopes Malkin doesn’t miss much time.

“That was one of them, I think, put him in the right place,” Crosby said. “He looked like he was in a lot of pain… I think it did him pretty good, but hopefully nothing will keep him out. If you’re going to shoot, at least score.”

Reinhart cut it to 3-2 on a one-timer Carter Verhehe At 10:13, however, Guentzel hit an empty net goal with 1:18 left to make it 4-2.

“Five on 5, I think we controlled the game a lot,” said Verhegen, who missed the previous game due to illness. “We still have to do a better job of creating a little bit more, hitting the net and getting more quality looks.”

Video. [email protected] Reinhart scores his 9th goal of the season in the 3rd

Lomberg gave Florida a 1-0 lead at 5:30 of the first period when he fired a shot past the right post. Eric Stahl hit a Pittsburgh defender Brian Dumoulin.

“Obviously they’re a really good team. They have great leadership there,” Lomberg said. “So we knew they were going to push. But at the end of the day we have to start getting two points.”

Nick Cousins A Penguins defenseman had a chance to extend the lead on a game-clinching play with 9:12 left. Marcus Peterson. He tried to go back through the five-hole, but Jarry made the save.

Letang tied the game at 1-1 at 4:17 of the second period, scoring on a wrist shot that took a post-attack pass. Brian Rust 2 on 1.

Guntzel gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead at 12:42 when Malkin’s shot went off his right skate.

Video. [email protected] Guentzel leads the Penguins in the 2nd period

Pittsburgh has scored at least one power-play goal in seven straight games (37 percent).

“That’s a big part of the game nowadays, you’ve got to make sure you beat special teams,” Guentzel said. “I think we did that tonight. We came out with the right result.”

NOTES: Guentzel has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in his last nine games. … Malkin has 11 points (two goals, nine assists) during a seven-game point streak. He has 316 multi-point games for the fourth most in Pittsburgh history behind Mario Lemieux (497), Crosby (431) and Jaromir Jagr (320). … Letang has five shorthanded goals, tying Larry Murphy and Randy Carlyle for the most in Penguins history by a defenseman. … Aaron Ekblad played his 574th NHL game, passing Robert Svehla for the most in Panthers history. … Jarry has won six straight starts and is 10-0-2 in his last 12 games (all starts). It is the longest personal scoring streak by a Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury went 11-0-1 from February 21 to March 25, 2012.



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