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Penguins march to 4-0 win over Panthers

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Crosby hat trick leaves Cats stuck on 73 points

NHL: Florida Panthers at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Sidney Crosby scored three goals and Marc-Andre Fleury made 21 saves to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-0 win over the Florida Panthers in Sunday matinee action at PPG Paints Arena.

After Patric Hornqvist opened the scoring at 16:44 of the first period by batting Phil Kessel’s over the net pass out of the air and by James Reimer, Crosby scored twice in a 1:52 span late in the second to put the game away.

Crosby got loose and easily scored again to notch his tenth career hat trick, and reach the 40-goal mark, five minutes into the final frame to complete the scoring.

Sid’s linemates Jake Guentzel and Conor Sheary assisted on all three Crosby goals. Matt Cullen drew the secondary assist on Hornqvist’s marker.

The loss kept the Panthers six points behind idle Toronto, with the Maple Leafs now holding a game in hand. The Buds will face the Boston Bruins tonight, leaving the teams with eleven games after that result is in the books.

Florida will begin a three-game homestand Tuesday night against Carolina. Games against Arizona and Chicago at the BB&T Center will follow. All of are the “must-win” variety.

Highlights:

Snares & Chinstraps

  • Sidney Crosby’s hat trick was his first in over a year, when he bagged three goals against Ottawa on February 2, 2016. In addition to taking back the league lead in goals, Crosby tied Connor McDavid in the race for the Art Ross Trophy with 80 points.
  • Jaromir Jagr became the only the fourth player in NHL history to reach 1,700 regular season games played, joining Gordie Howe, Mark Messier and Ron Francis.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury’s shutout was his first of the season. Fleury hadn’t blanked an opponent (Arizona) since March 30, 2016.
  • James Reimer finished with 24 saves and saw his record fall back to .500 at 14-14-5.
  • Mark Pysyk lead the Panthers with four shots on goal. No other Cat skater had more than two in a disappointing offensive effort.
  • Pittsburgh defenseman Ian Cole had three blocks on Sunday to add to his franchise record. Cole is now up to 175 blocks on the season.
  • Derek MacKenzie had a good day on draws, winning 9 of 11. The Captain also had two shots and two hits.
  • Visit PensBurgh for more on Pittsburgh’s latest win over the Panthers, which completed the season-series sweep. The Penguins outscored the Cats 12-3 in taking all three games.