PITTSBURGH (AP) Anthony Duclair scored the game-clinching goal in the second period and Carter Verhaeghe added an insurance score in the third as the Florida Panthers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 on Tuesday night.
“Everyone played well, everyone was playing single hockey,” Verhaeghe said. “It was almost like playoff style. I think those road games are really going to be beneficial in the playoffs.
Duclair and Verhaeghe tied career highs for goals. Duclair scored his 23rd of the season and Verhaeghe his 18th as Florida won its fourth straight game. Sam Reinhart scored his 19th, Aaron Ekblad his 15th and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 32 shots.
Sidney Crosby scored his 19th with 2:09 remaining as Pittsburgh lost its second straight game. Crosby extended a seven-game point streak with his third straight multi-point effort.
Jake Guentzel scored his 28th goal of the season and Bryan Rust added his 19th in his 400th NHL game. Tristan Jarry made 25 saves as Pittsburgh recently went 1-1-1 against three of the NHL’s top four teams — Florida, Carolina and Tampa Bay.
“It’s disappointing that we lost two of those three games,” Crosby said. “But at the same time, for good parts of those games, we did good things and we were there.”
The Panthers have won five consecutive road games, outscoring the opposition 24-10 in the period. The Panthers, who are 9-2 in their last 11 away games, won five straight road games last season.
“Over time, I think we’ve done a lot of good things that led to us winning the hockey game where we really buckled down and defended,” Panthers interim coach Andrew Brunette said.
Florida scored its first two goals less than two minutes apart in the first period.
Reinhart knocked the puck out of the air from the slot at 12:43, and Ekblad beat Jarry with a shot from the point 1:55 later.
Pittsburgh scored two goals in nine seconds early in the second period.
Rust’s cross pass touched Ekblad’s stick and went over Bobrovsky’s shoulder for Pittsburgh’s first goal. Guentzel tied the game at 3:16 with a Crosby victory.
“We fought back in the second period,” Crosby said. “But we put ourselves in a difficult situation against a very good hockey team like that. We have to be better, especially from the start, to give ourselves a better chance.
Florida regained the lead for good after Duclair’s power-play goal from the slot at 7:02 of the period. Duclair, who also tied a career high in points, scored in his third straight game.
“These are good experiences to learn from,” Brunette said. “They were able to do that against a really good road hockey team.”
RUST REACHES A MILESTONE
Rust is the 32nd player to play 400 games with the Penguins and the 19th to skate in his first 400 games with Pittsburgh. Rust, a third-round pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, has 119 goals and 257 points.
Among players who have played their first 400 games with Pittsburgh, Rust’s 257 points are the seventh-highest in that span.
Penguins forward Brock McGinn also played his 400th NHL game and Evan Rodrigues his 100th game with Pittsburgh.
PANTHERS HAVE THE POWER
Florida has scored 11 power-play goals in its last nine games.
The Panthers recently set a team record with two power-play goals in each of their last four games. Florida, which has led the league in power play since Jan. 1, has allowed no power-play goals in four straight games.
Ekblad’s 15 goals are two short of the franchise single-season record for goals by a defenseman. He is the fourth defenseman in franchise history to reach 50 points in a season.
Aleksander Barkov has collected multiple points in nine of his last 11 games, with five goals and 19 points during the period. He has one goal and eight points in his last three games.
Jonathan Huberdeau has had assists in each of his last three games. He is two shy of matching his single-season career high of 62, set in 2018-19, which was also a club record. Huberdeau, with 23 points in his last 16 games, has a point in all but 10 of Florida’s games this season.
Bobrovsky has won his last six games on the road and improved to 11-3-3 away from home. He is six wins away from equaling the club record in a season, set twice by Roberto Luongo.
The Penguins’ F Teddy Blueger returned after missing the last 16 games with a broken jaw.
He was first injured Jan. 23 in a home shootout win over Winnipeg after a hit by defenseman Brenden Dillon. Blueger, one of the Penguins’ top defensive forwards and a key member of the penalty kill, has eight goals and 17 points in 41 games this season.
Panthers: Play Philadelphia at home on Thursday.
Penguins: Go on a three-game homestand Friday against Vegas.
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