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Penguins Power Past Panthers


Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tom Barrasso disappointed himself on Friday night and did something about it on Saturday night.

He stopped 23 shots

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  • and became the third Pittsburgh goalie to register a shutout in three weeks as the Penguins beat the Florida Panthers 4-0.

    Barrasso returned from a 10-game absence brought on by a groin injury and lost 4-3 in New Jersey on Friday. He allowed two goals in the first period.

    "Great athletes, which Tommy is, always respond," coach Kevin Constantine said. "He hadn't played in a little bit so he had the right to be rusty. At the same time he wasn't pleased. He responded."

    It's the first time in the Penguins' 32 seasons that three different goalies have recorded shutouts.

    Friday's loss in New Jersey was Barrasso's first action since the injury forced him out of a game on Oct. 17.

    "That's what makes him so good," Constantine said. "Great athletes want to compete, they want to be the best. I really enjoyed watching what he did tonight after a game last night that he wasn't overly pleased with."

    Barrasso's best period was the first, in which he made 15 saves, including Ed Jovanovski's breakaway. Barrasso faced only eight shots over the last 40 minutes and had only one tough save. He kicked away Ray Whitney's point-blank shot in the second.

    "Kevin has a lot of confidence in what I can do and it gives me a lot of comfort knowing that he thinks I can do the job," Barrasso said. "It's been a case of working hard in practice to get ready to come back. It's nice to be back playing."

    Pittsburgh's Peter Skundra made 27 saves to beat Toronto 2-0 on Oct. 26 and rookie Jean-Sebastian Aubin stopped 18 shots in a scorless tie against Boston on Nov. 7.

    Florida coach terry Murray though his club deserved an assist in Barrasso's 31st career shutout. They offered only minimal offense after the first 20 minutes.

    "A lot of things broke down after the first period," Murray said. "The biggest looked like a loss of focus. We stopped skating like we were in the first. Instead of shooting the puck, we were always looking for the extra pass. There was too much one-on-one stuff and guys trying to go end-to-end."

    Said Florida forward Bill Lindsay, "We get very dejected from goals. If we get behind it's a real struggle. We have to find a way to battle back."

    Stu Barnes scored twice on power plays against his former team.

    Barnes, who had been scoreless in eight career games against Florida, raised his season goal total to seven as the Penguins ended a three-game power-play drought. Barnes played 191 games for the Panthers over four seasons before he was traded to Pittsburgh in 1996.

    The Penguins scored their first two goals in the last three minutes of the first period. Martin Straka shot the puck toward the net where it hit a defenseman and rebounded to Barnes. Before that goal, the Penguins had failed on seven power plays over three games.

    Kip Miller scored his first 45 seconds later. Sean Burke stopped Jeff Serowik's shot but Miller was able to put in the rebound.

    After Rob Brown scored on a breakaway at 14:06 of the second, Barnes scored at 5:56 of the third. He fanned on Jaromir Jagr's pass at the side of the net but was still able to jam the puck past Burke, a goal that was upheld by replay.

    Barrasso's pass started Brown's breakaway and was his 46th career point, tying him with Grant Fuhr for the lead among goalies.

    Brown's goal was his 300th point with Pittsburgh.

    The Panthers have failed to score on their last 23 power plays against Pittsburgh.

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