The Pittsburgh Penguins may be shorthanded, but they're also unbeaten, winning 4-2 in their home opener against the Florida Panthers to improve to 3-0-1 on the season. The Pens never trailed on Tuesday, with Pascal Dupuis scoring his first goal of the season in the opening period and assisting on Matt Cooke's third goal of the season in the second.
The Panthers got on the board in the second when Marcel Goc scored less than a minute after Cooke's goal, but Richard Park added a shorthanded goal a few minutes later to give the Penguins a comfortable 3-1 lead entering the final period. Tomas Fleischmann scored for Florida in the third but Pittsburgh got past Jose Theodore one last time when James Neal scored the final goal of the game.
"You look at pretty much all their goals, it was similar plays," Theodore said. "It's around the net, it's rebounds, so they were at the right spot and they were driving hard."
All in all, not too shabby for a team still without Sidney Crosby due to concussion symptoms and missing Evgeni Malkin for the second game in a row due to "soreness." Crosby, who did not meet with doctors Tuesday despite reports, is still unsure when he'll return.
"Closer than I was yesterday, but I can't give you a date," Crosby said. "I'd love for them to tell me a date I can come back and play, but it's the same."
In the meantime, the Penguins will be just fine without him if they keep getting surprising contributions from players like Cooke, who's never scored more than 15 goals in a season, and Joe Vitale, whose two assists Tuesday doubled his career total entering the game.
Theodore stopped 25 shots for the Panthers, while Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 32.