Pittsburgh (11-37-3) at Florida (19-23-3)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Sunrise, FL
Temp: 81° F
  • Game info: 7:30 pm EST Thu Feb 12, 2004
  • TV: ROOT, FSFL
Preview | Box Score | Recap

This is one anniversary the Pittsburgh Penguins would rather not celebrate.

Exactly one month after their last victory, the Penguins will try to end a franchise-record 12-game losing streak when they face the Florida Panthers.

A few days off for the All-Star break didn’t help the Penguins get into the win column, as they opened the second half with a 6-3 loss to visiting Boston on Tuesday.

Rookie Ryan Malone scored twice for Pittsburgh, which set a team record with its 12th straight loss, surpassing the 11-game skid by the 1982-83 club. The Penguins’ last victory was a 2-1 win at Philadelphia on Jan. 12.

Tuesday’s defeat was also Pittsburgh’s 11th consecutive home loss, matching the NHL record held by four teams. The 1999-00 Atlanta Thrashers had been the last team to lose 11 straight at home.

“I think we’re waiting for luck to come to us and you can’t do that,” rookie Brooks Orpik said. “It’s just a combination of a lot of things right now.”

While the Penguins are one of the league’s weakest offensive teams, they are by far the NHL’s worst defensive team, allowing 213 goals. No other team has allowed more than 175.

With rookie Marc-Andre Fleury back in juniors, Pittsburgh has been unable to decide on a No. 1 goalie. Sebastien Caron has surrendered 39 goals during a personal nine-game losing streak, while Aubin has yielded 15 goals over four straight losses.

“We watch video after video and we all shake our heads, we know what we’re supposed to do but we don’t do it,” Orpik said.

Viktor Kozlov and Roberto Luongo helped make a winner out of John Torchetti in his Panthers’ coaching debut Tuesday.

Kozlov scored two goals seven seconds apart early in the second period and Luongo stopped 40 shots in a 2-1 victory over Montreal.

Florida’s second straight win moved it within two points of ninth-place Buffalo in the Eastern Conference.

Torchetti was named interim coach Monday when Rick Dudley stepped down to concentrate on his general manager duties.

“I thought the last two or three minutes, from what I remember, I don’t know if they had any great chances like in the slot or something like that,” Torchetti said. “That’s another step forward for our hockey club, going into the third with a lead and keeping it.”

Florida has won seven straight against Pittsburgh since a 6-5 loss on March 5, 2002.

STANDINGS (through Feb. 10): Penguins - 30 points, 5th place, 44 PB, Atlantic Division. Panthers - 52 points, 2nd place, 14 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Penguins - Malone, 15 goals; Dick Tarnstrom, 21 assists and 31 points; Kelly Buchberger, 104 PIM. Panthers - Olli Jokinen, 17 goals; Valeri Bure, 21 assists and 37 points; Darcy Hordichuk, 110 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 10): Penguins - Power play: 15.2 percent (39 for 257), 18th in NHL. Penalty killing: 76.9 percent (218 for 257), 30th. Panthers - Power play: 17.4 percent (35 for 201), 9th. Penalty killing: 83.7 percent (200 for 239), 19th.

GOALTENDERS: Penguins - Caron (5-20-3, 1 SO, 3.85 GAA); Aubin (2-6-0, 2.75). Panthers - Luongo (16-23-10, 3, 2.42); Steve Shields (3-3-1, 3.38).

SEASON SERIES: Panthers, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 15; Panthers, 3-2. At Pittsburgh, Bure and Kristian Huselius each had a goal and an assist, and Luongo made 33 saves for Florida.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Penguins - 4-19-2-3 on the road; Panthers - 11-9-6-2 at home.

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