PITTSBURGH (TICKER) —Mario Lemieux’s frustration finally boiled over.
With the Pittsburgh Penguins headed to their fourth straight loss, Lemieux dropped the gloves in the third period and drew a major penalty, 10-minute misconduct and an ejection as the Florida Panthers rolled to a 6-0 rout.
One night after he was pulled in the second period of a 6-0 loss to Toronto, Luongo stopped 11 shots in the first period, five in the second and 12 in the third for his first shutout since January 18 against Pittsburgh.
“It’s always good to bounce back,” Luongo said. “You’re only as good as the last game played. A couple of years ago, playing Pittsburgh was not that good. I guess I’ve learned to play them a bit.”
“It’s great to see them respond, having not had a very good game last night,” Panthers coach Mike Keenan added. “We were able to collect ourselves and respond well in an important game, particularly with Pittsburgh in the playoff hunt.
“It felt good to help the team out,” Cullen said. “The goal felt pretty good, a weight off my shoulder. Anytime you get traded to a team, you want to help. I didn’t last night, certainly good to show something tonight.”
All-Star Olli Jokinen finished off the blowout with 15 seconds to go as the Panthers spent the better part of the third period with the extra man.
“It was a good, solid body check,” Keenan said. “You compete hard when you play against top players and that’s the way you earn their respect. Mario certainly stayed competitive the whole game.”
With 9:26 to go in the third, Lemieux again squared off with Ference, drawing a game misconduct. He also got his first fighting major since March 20, 1987.
“Lemieux deserves kind of a double standard,” Ference said. “I just hope the refs call what they see. I thought they handled it pretty well.”
“I thought it was a good combination,” said Lemieux, who never actually threw a punch.
“We were down five at that point,” Lemieux explained. “Ference took a lot of cheap shots out there. He’s got to expect teams to go after him, especially with the game out of hand like that. He’s got to pay for it.”
“I can handle myself with the fighting, but when it’s 5-0, maybe you have to give him a shot,” Ference said. “I wanted to get Luongo the shutout, so if I can get any player to take a penalty like that, it’s always good for our team.”
Sebastien Caron made 41 saves for Pittsburgh, which has just one win in its last eight games (1-6-1).