Jokinen scored two of his three goals during Florida’s four-goal first period and the Panthers snapped a 12-game losing streak by beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3 on Friday night.
“It’s been a rough month,” Jokinen said. “You read every day in the newspaper and see the numbers to see what the losing streak is. It’s over now. It’s a good feeling.”
Kristian Huselius, Gary Roberts and Stephen Weiss also scored for Florida, which avoided tying the franchise record for consecutive losses. The Panthers had been 0-8-4 since winning 4-3 at Pittsburgh on Oct. 25.
Crosby, the NHL’s top rookie scorer, left the game in the third period with a bruised left foot. X-rays were negative.
“I wasn’t sure if it was broken, but it’s just a bruise,” Crosby said. “(Saturday), I’ll see how it feels.”
Jokinen’s hat trick—in his 500th NHL game—was Florida’s first since Pavel Bure did it on March 17, 2001, against Toronto.
“If it was a win and I didn’t score any goals, I would be happy,” Jokinen said.
Florida’s Roberto Luongo stopped 36 shots.
“I think a lot of guys, including myself, feel like the pressure’s been lifted a little off our backs because it was getting pretty tough,” Luongo said. “It’s a big win, now we have to keep going.”
Huselius and Jokinen scored 64 seconds apart to help Florida take a 2-0 lead three minutes into the game en route to a 4-1 advantage after one period.
Jokinen fired a shot past Caron’s right from just inside the center blue line for his eighth goal at 3:00.
Just 17 seconds after Palffy deflected Christensen’s cross-ice pass for his 10th goal at 8:11, Roberts wristed a shot past Caron’s stick side for his fourth goal and a 3-1 Panthers lead.
Jocelyn Thibault then replaced Caron.
Jokinen scored his ninth goal, a wrist shot to Thibault’s high glove side, at 13:34 of the first.
Crosby took advantage of a lapse by Florida’s defense to score from right in front of Luongo 48 seconds into the second. The rookie was alone when he took Palffy’s pass.
Christensen scored at 8:00 of the second to pull Pittsburgh within 4-3. Panthers coach Jacques Martin then used his timeout.
“The purpose was to relax our guys and get them back to focus,” Martin said. “We worked hard and we wanted to make Pittsburgh earn it.”
Jokinen and Weiss scored two minutes apart midway through the period to give Florida a 6-3 lead.
“We knew they were a dangerous team, we knew they were in the slide they have been in,” Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk said. “We were in a similar slide early in the season.”
Jokinen’s third goal, at 10:56 of the second, came on a 2-on-1 with Chris Gratton. Jokinen, skating in on the right, one-timed Gratton’s pass into the net.
Despite Florida’s two goals in the first three minutes, the arena scoreboard showed 0-0 until 12:20 remained in the first period. … Pittsburgh has failed to score first in 17 of 23 games. … Hall of Fame D Bobby Orr was at the game.