Jussi Jokinen scored the winning goal in a shootout to lead the Panthers over the Penguins 2-1.
The Panthers lost the previous two games to Pittsburgh in overtime, both 3-2. This time they were able to pick up the extra point and improved to 6-1 in shootouts this season.
“Every time we play Pittsburgh it seems to go into overtime and we finally got on the winning side of it,” Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. “So it was a real big two points. We needed them.”
Nick Bjugstad also scored in the shootout and in regulation for the Panthers, who won for the first time in three games.
“It was a close one, but we found a way to win,” Bjugstad said.
Al Montoya made 31 saves.
“We’re fortunate that it’s on our side and we’ll take the two points,” Montoya said.
“They’re a good team and they’re battling and had some struggles,” Kunitz said. “They came out with a hard game and we took them close to the end and they found a way to get two points.”
Kunitz scored with 3:19 left in regulation to tie it at 1. Kunitz shot from the slot and it went over Montoya’s glove and under the crossbar.
“Tonight we were good, but not good enough to win,” Penguins defenceman Trevor Daley said. “We missed a point out there. Down the stretch that point could be huge for us.”
The Panthers took a 1-0 lead on Bjugstad’s goal in the first. Alex Petrovic passed from above the right circle to Bjugstad to the left of the crease. His one-timer got past Fleury at 7:30. The goal was Bjugstad’s first in nine games.
“It was good to get back on the score sheet and contribute a little bit,” Bjugstad said.
Jaromir Jagr celebrated his 44th birthday on Monday, but was held pointless. Jagr is the fifth non-goalie to play in an NHL game at 44 years or older.
NOTES: Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez dropped the puck for the opening faceoff. … Panthers F Greg McKegg, recalled from AHL Portland on Sunday after C Aleksander Barkov was placed on injured reserve, played in his first NHL game of the season. … C Quinton Howden (upper body) and C Brandon Pirri (ankle) were scratches on Monday. … Penguins C Evgeni Malkin missed his sixth straight game with a lower-body injury.