- Associated Press - Friday, October 20, 2017

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) - The Pittsburgh Penguins needed a little time to get up to speed against the Florida Panthers.

Conor Sheary scored a power-play goal with 2:53 left to give the Penguins a 4-3 victory Friday night.

The Penguins trailed 2-0 less than 6 minutes in, but scored three goals in the second period, in which they took a season-high 22 shots.

“After the first period we had to gather ourselves a little bit,” Sheary said. “We were still maybe in vacation mode, then when we came out in the second we were ready to play and started being dangerous again.”

Sheary backhanded the puck past James Reimer after taking a pass from Olli Maata near the blue line in the Panthers zone.

“That was a great pass, right on my stick,” Sheary said.

Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist, and Sidney Crosby and Carter Rowney also scored for the Penguins. Matthew Murray stopped 28 shots, and Phil Kessell had two assists.

“We didn’t have the start that we wanted to,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “But what I really liked about the group is that we responded the right way.”

MacKenzie Weegar scored his first NHL goal and Aleksander Barkov and Jamie McGinn also scored for the Panthers. Reimer, who came in to relieve an injured Robert Luongo with 15:14 left in the third, made 11 stops.

Luongo made 33 saves before he left with a hand injury. He was hurt when Sheary backed into him, forcing his right hand hard against the post. There was no update on the injury immediately after the game.

“He is still getting evaluated right now. We’ll know more probably tomorrow morning,” Panthers coach Bob Boughner said.

The Panthers tied it at 3 on Weegar’s goal with 10:41 left. Weegar shot from the point and beat Murray.

“I’m obviously pretty happy,” Weegar said. “I think this is the only time you’ll see me smile after a loss, but I’m happy to get my first goal.”

Crosby’s power-play goal put the Penguins ahead 3-2. He redirected a pass from Malkin past Luongo at 11:12 of the second. Crosby has goals in three consecutive games.

“It wasn’t pretty, they were throwing a lot of pucks to the net and when you get down 2-0 it’s not the situation to put yourself in but we had a lot of time left,” Crosby said. “We got back to our game pretty quickly.”

Trailing 2-0, Pittsburgh scored two goals in 27 seconds in the second period.

The Penguins closed to 2-1 on Malkin’s goal power-play goal. Malkin took a pass from Kessel and slid the puck past Luongo at 2:14

Rowney tied it after the puck bounced off defenseman Michael Haley’s skate.

The Panthers scored two goals in a 1:34 span in the first.

The Panthers took a 1-0 lead 4:15 in, the first time the Panthers scored the opening goal of the game this season. McGinn poked in a rebound on Murray’s stick side.

Barkov stretched the lead to 2-0 when he scored his first goal of the season. Keith Yandle passed from the high slot to Barkov low in the right circle. His angled shot snuck between Murray’s glove and the post at 5:49.

Notes: Crosby has goals in five straight games against the Panthers (eight total) and 17 points in his last nine games against them. … Penguins D Zach Trotman was recalled from WilkesBarre/Scranton of the AHL on Thursday but was scratched Friday. … Weegar made his first appearance of the season for the Panthers after being a healthy scratch the first five games.


Penguins: At Tampa Bay on Saturday night.

Panthers: At Washington on Saturday night.


For more NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey

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