Panthers 6, Penguins 4

Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Tomas Fleischmann scored a short-handed goal to lead the Florida Panthers to a wild 6-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night at the BB&T Center.
It was career goal No. 100 for Fleischmann, who took a breakaway pass from Jerred Smithson and scored on a wrist shot 3:29 into the third period.
The Panthers snapped a five-game home skid to earn their first win here since Jan. 31.
Florida's Tomas Kopecky had a hat trick, including an empty-netter with one minute left.
Florida's first four goals all came on its suddenly hot power play -- two by Kopecky and one each by Brian Campbell and Marcel Goc.
Kopecky, who has eight goals this season, has scored six times in the past six games. He also drew a second-period elbowing penalty on Brooks Orpik, and there were just nine seconds left on the power play when he scored his second of the night to give Florida a 2-1 lead.
After the score, Penguins goalie Tomas Vokoun -- who was the Panthers' starter from 2007 to 2011 -- threw a punch at Kopecky, which touched off a brawl involving several players.
With 8:22 left in the second period, Campbell scored his fifth goal of the season on a slapshot to make it 3-1.
Thirty two seconds later, Goc got his first goal of the season, scoring on a wrist shot from close range.
That chased Vokoun and brought in starter Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Penguins then closed the wild second period with three straight goals -- by Dustin Jeffrey, Paul Martin and Chris Kunitz.
Jose Theodore, the Panthers' No.1 goalie to start the season, was also chased. He lasted until the end of the second period, also allowing four goals.
Theodore had sat for much of the past week as backup Scott Clemmensen got one start and rookie Jacob Markstrom was called up and inserted into the lineup twice.
But Markstrom was sent back to the minors Monday, even though he was solid in stopping 65 of 71 in losses to Pittsburgh and Boston last week.
The roster move cleared the way for Theodore to get another chance, and he failed to make the most of it.
Clemmensen replaced him to start the third period Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Penguins, playing their second game without star winger Evgeni Malkin, could have vaulted over the Montreal Canadiens to the top of the Eastern Conference with a win.
Instead, Vokoun lost his third straight game. He gave up six goals in his previous start, against the Flyers, and has not won since Feb. 3.
Vokoun had a good track record playing against the Panthers last season, going 3-0 with two shutouts while playing for the Capitals. He allowed only one shot past him out of 85.
Malkin is on the injured list because of concussion symptoms, including short-term memory loss and headaches, after being hit into the boards by Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson in a Penguins win last Friday.
Malkin is not expected to play on the current road trip that continues Thursday in Carolina and ends Saturday in Montreal. How much longer he will be out is unknown.
NOTES: Center Stephen Weiss, Florida's all-time leader in games played, missed Tuesday's game to fly home to Toronto and attend his grandmother's funeral. ... Weiss, a free agent after the season, is off to a slow start with one goal and three assists in 14 games and a minus-11. Weiss, 29, has a no-trade clause in his contract and was benched for the final six minutes of Sunday's 4-1 loss to the Bruins. ... Panthers winger Alex Kovalev, who is one assist shy of 600 goals, was a healthy scratch. ... Panthers defenseman Filip Kuba was scratched because of an upper-body injury. ... Several Penguins players were at the top or near the top of the NHL in statistical categories entering Tuesday's games. James Neal was tied for third with 12 goals. Sidney Crosby was second in points with 28 and second in assists with 19. Malkin was tied for fourth with 17 assists. ... Two Panthers who are on the injured list -- Kris Versteeg (upper body) and Scottie Upshall (ankle) -- are close to returning to the lineup. ... Pens defenseman Mark Eaton, signed Monday, is not yet ready to play, according to coach Dan Bylsma. ... The Panthers conclude their three-game homestand Thursday against Buffalo.

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