Pens welcome Panthers in home opener

The Pittsburgh Penguins will play their first home game of the season tonight, when they welcome the Florida Panthers for a battle at Consol Energy Center.

The Penguins opened the year on a three-game road trip out west and posted a 2-0-1 record on the swing. The lone loss on the trek came Sunday in Edmonton after Pittsburgh had already notched victories in Vancouver and Calgary.

This will be the second home opener at Consol Energy Center after the Penguins went 25-14-2 in their new building last season.

The Oilers tied Sunday's game late in regulation on a goal by rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ales Hemsky scored the game-winner in the shootout to lift Edmonton to the 2-1 decision.

Kris Letang scored the lone goal for the Penguins, while Brent Johnson turned aside 34-of-35 shots in his first start of the year. Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to resume his role as Pittsburgh's starting netminder tonight.

The Penguins have not had captain Sidney Crosby yet this season as the superstar is still recovering from concussion symptoms that began in January.

On Sunday, Pittsburgh was also without star forward Evgeni Malkin, who is sidelined with a lower body issue. Malkin had a goal and an assist in the first two games and he is questionable for this evening's tilt.

The Penguins have dominated the recent series with Florida, winning four straight, seven of eight and nine of the last 11 meetings overall. The Panthers have also lost five in a row and eight of their last nine in the Steel City.

Florida has played just one game so far, but it was a successful outing, as the Panthers recorded a road victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday.

Jose Theodore stopped all 27 shots he faced in his first game as a Panther, leading Florida to a 2-0 victory at Nassau Coliseum. Theodore signed with the team in July after spending last season with Minnesota.

Theodore was part of an overhaul that followed a 30-40-12 season and last- place finish in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers fired head coach Peter DeBoer after the season and named Kevin Dineen their new leader in June.

Dineen made his head coaching debut Saturday and got a victory thanks to Theodore, who faced 22 shots over the final two periods but stopped them all. Stephen Weiss and Jason Garrison scored first-period goals in the victory.

"We knew he was going be here tonight for us," Weiss said of Theodore. "He was our best player on the ice tonight and deserves the shutout."

Theodore is expected be between the pipes tonight and he'll likely get the lion's share of starts this month while Scott Clemmensen recovers from knee surgery. Theodore also has excellent career numbers against Pittsburgh, going 19-4-2 with a tie and a 2.32 goals-against average over 26 starts versus the Penguins.