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Quick Take: Penguins scrape out win over host Panthers

...And somehow no groin issues.
...And somehow no groin issues.

Ah, the power play. What might have been, and all. The surprising Cats (and we all should agree: heading into this one at 9-9, is anyone not impressed, especially considering the complete lack of a power play?) were given every opportunity to skate away with at least a point, but the punchless Florida "special team" (note the subtle quotes) presented yet again another 0-for-5 effort on the man-advantage. They're pretty "special", alright. Conversely, Pittsburgh went 2-for-6. As far as numbers go, there's your game, plain and simple. Getting to be an extraordinarily old story.

Seriously...the Panthers had a chance to win this - even after surrendering the first frame; an increasingly painful storyline which has yet to be addressed. Not surprisingly, even their vaunted penalty kill - finally kicked in the can when it mattered most to the opposition - could not keep things close.

Said it two days ago and we'll say it again: there is a strong nucleus in South Florida. Stronger perhaps than anyone had predicted this early - including me. Given the Panthers' ability to remain scoring within ballpark range of the better half of the Eastern Conference, why is the power play such a mess?

(Forgive me for any apparent lapses in timeliness...FS Florida is double-dipping into the Lady Gaga advertisements, so I'm closing in on assuming the role of the kid with the evil pumpkin mask in Halloween 3: Season of the Witch.)

Extras:  Kris Letang (PP), Sidney Crosby (PP, 1a), and Chris Conner scored for Pittsburgh with assists to Paul Martin, Tyler Kennedy, Evgeni Malkin, Mark Letestu, and Zbynek Michalek. Crosby had 5 SOG in 22:11(!) TOI...and a minus-1. Scoring for Florida were Cory Stillman and Bryan McCabe, with assists to Jason Garrison, Michael Frolik, David Booth, and Bill Thomas.  Cats' D-man Dennis Wideman - again - led all skaters with 24:04, followed on the Florida roster by - wait for it - forward Booth (1a, even) with 23:48...are we into triple-shifting territory yet? Tomas Vokoun stopped 23 shots while Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury - not lately considered the darling of NHL goaltending - closed the door on 27 for the victory.

More from the Steel City at PensBurgh here.

Next up:  Bruins at Panthers on Wednesday; Live Game Chat at 7pm.