The Penguins welcomed Patric Hornqvist back to Pittsburgh on Thursday night but they were less than enthused to see Sergei Bobrovsky manning the Florida Panthers net.
Bobrovsky, who missed the past three games after leaving after one period last Thursday night, kept his hot start of the season going by making 29 saves in Florida’s 3-2 shootout loss.
Florida has now lost the first three games of this road trip (Rangers and Devils) with the four-game trip wrapping up Saturday night in downtown Tampa.
Thursday’s game went into the fourth round of the shootout with Jeff Carter scoring and Anton Lundell being stopped.
Florida had a 1-0 shootout lead after Round 2 on a goal from Jonathan Huberdeau.
This is the Panthers’ first three-game losing streak since last April.
For the third consecutive game, the Panthers went into the third trailing although it was only a 2-1 deficit.
Sasha Barkov got the Panthers back even at 2:30 of the third by keeping his eight-game scoring streak going by scoring from the slot.
Florida had a number of big-time chances — as did the Penguins — in the third but both Bobrovsky and Tristan Jarry (36 saves) were up to the task.
The Panthers had numerous scoring chances in the second period but a couple over-passes cost Florida a few opportunities to take the lead.
Now, Carter Verhaeghe hitting the cage on an odd-angled shot from the goal line was not one of them.
Huberdeau and Sam Bennett all alone on a 2-man rush while shorthanded, well, that was.
Florida ended up going into the third down 2-1 when Evan Rodrigues did not pass as he drove down on Bobrovsky, firing from 10-feet out with 2:07 left in the period.
The opening period saw Florida get a number of chances early.
On the first power play chance in the opening five minutes, both Huberdeau and Hornqvist had a couple of shots ring off the cage.
Teddy Blueger made it 1-0 at 13:37 of the first off a backdoor pass from Kris Letang that was set up by Mike Matheson.
Florida ended up tying the score thanks to some great puck work from Anton Lundell that allowed he and Frank Vatrano to get into the zone, Vatrano going top shelf off the pass from Lundell at 16:55.
In the third, Florida had a goal come off the board when Barkov was ruled to have been offside when he tracked down a puck along the boards. Barkov fed Carter Verhaeghe who got it to Anthony Duclair on the doorstep with 4:45 left.
In overtime, Bobrovsky took a couple of big hits — the first from Huberdeau and then was bowled over by Jake Guentzel. That gave the Panthers a power play chance but Florida could not cash in and the game went to a shootout.
Bobrovsky is now 6-0-1 this season.
GR’S THREE STARS OF THE NIGHT
1. Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh
2. Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida
3. Sasha Barkov, Florida