The Pittsburgh Penguins aim to match their longest winning streak of the season this evening with a seventh straight home victory over the Florida Panthers.
The streaking Penguins picked up their seventh consecutive win on Wednesday, recording a 3-2 triumph over the visiting Maple Leafs. Pittsburgh moved to 19-4-1 in its past 24 contests, a stretch that began with a season-high eight- game win streak from Jan. 13-31.
The Penguins trailed by a goal heading into the third period, but Jordan Staal netted the equalizer 1:34 into the frame and Pascal Dupuis tallied his second goal of the contest at the 4:10 mark.
Brad Thiessen, giving Marc-Andre Fleury a rare night off between the pipes, stopped all 11 shots he faced in the third to seal the win, Pittsburgh's 11th in its past 12 at home. Thiessen has been serving as the backup with Brent Johnson out due to a lower-body injury.
"We feel like we can come back in every game and we proved it again tonight with a big third (period)," said Dupuis.
Staal extended his point streak to a career-high six straight games, though Evgeni Malkin saw his eight-game point streak halted for the Penguins, who sit fourth in the East with 85 points. That is two up on the Flyers and six behind the New York Rangers for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Pittsburgh has won two of three over Florida this season as well as nine of the past 11 overall encounters. The Panthers haven't won in Pittsburgh since Jan. 3, 2009, losing nine of their past 10 trips to the city.
The Panthers also didn't give the Penguins any help in their quest for the fourth seed after suffering a 5-0 loss in Philadelphia last night. Jose Theodore gave up all five goals on 35 shots, while the Flyers' Ilya Bryzgalov stopped all 28 Panther shots.
Florida went 0-for-4 on the man advantage and gave up two power-play goals en route to its third loss in four games.
"It's tough. Composure seems to be an issue at times for us," said Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen. "Our special teams were ineffective in the first period. You gotta find a way to score goals."
Florida, seeking its first playoff berth since 2000, owns just a two-point lead over Washington and Winnipeg for first place in the Southeast Division.
The Panthers played a fifth straight game without winger Kris Versteeg, who leads the club with 22 goals and 49 points.