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PANTHERS HANG ON TO BEAT PENGUINS, 5-3

Wednesday, 03.29.2006 / 12:00 AM / Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins

John LeClair scored his 400th NHL goal Wednesday night at Mellon Arena, but the Pittsburgh Penguins dropped a 5-3 decision to the Florida Panthers.

Chris Gratton scored 2:09 into the contest when he one-time a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury for a 1-0 Florida lead.

Nathan Horton made it a 2-0 Panthers lead with 3:41 left in the period. He wristed a power-play goal past Fleury.

The Panthers made it 3-0 just 23 seconds into the second period when he slammed in a rebound.

Rostislav Olesz slid a puck through Fleury’s legpads with 9:26 on the clock for a 4-0 Florida advantage.

Fleury was pulled for Sebastien Caron after Olesz’ goal. Fleury stopped just 13 of the 17 shots he faced. Florida goalie Roberto Luongo made 31 saves to earn the win and was especially sharp.

“Marc had a bad game. When your goalie doesn’t play well, it’s really tough to win, not just for us, but all the teams. “Luongo, I thought he was outstanding. I thought [Sidney] Crosby could have had three or four goals tonight. He’s a quality goalie.”

LeClair scored with 3:01 left in the second period. He slammed in Noah Welch’s rebound for a power-play tally. It was the 400th of his NHL career. Sergei Gonchar added an assist on the play.

Andy Hilbert trimmed the Penguins’ deficit to 4-2 when he knocked in a goal with 9:22 to play. Colby Armstrong and Gonchar assisted on the play.

Juraj Kolnik scored an empty-net goal for Florida with 1:11 to play.

Konstantin Koltsov slammed in a rebound with three seconds to play to make it a 5-3 game. Rob Scuderi and Michel Ouellet earned assists.

ICE CHIPS: Eric Boguniecki and Eric Cairns were the Penguins’ scratches…Lukas Krajicek, Alexei Semenov, Jamie Allison, Mikhail Yakubov and Anthony Stewart were the Panthers’ scratches…The announced attendance was 14,024.

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