Letang scores for first time since returning from stroke, Penguins top Panthers

Kris Letang scored and assisted for his first points since returning from a stroke to help the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers.

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang scored in his third game back since having a stroke and the Penguins beat the Florida Panthers 4-2 on Thursday night.

Letang had the stroke Nov. 28, returned to practice 10 days later and got back in the lineup Saturday against Buffalo. In the second period against Florida, Letang scored a short-handed goal off a breakaway pass from Bryan Rust to tie it at 1.

Jake Guentzel scored twice and Evgeni Malkin added a power-play goal for the Penguins. They won for the seventh consecutive time and are 12-1-1 in their past 14 games.

Tristan Jarry made 32 saves to win his sixth consecutive start. Jarry is 10-0-1 in his past 11 games.

Ryan Lomberg and Sam Reinhart scored for Florida.

Malkin appeared to have injured his right knee on his goal as he was struck by a slap shot from Sidney Crosby.

The puck ended up in the net off the post, but Malkin hit the ice and had to be helped to the team’s medical room. Malkin has had surgery on his right knee.

Guentzel scored the go-ahead goal at 12:42 of the period by knocking in a power-play shot from Malkin with his skate. He also scored into an empty net with 1:18 remaining.

Malkin’s goal made it 3-1 as Pittsburgh went 2 for 3 on the power play as well as got the short-handed goal from Letang.

Lomberg gave the Panthers — who were playing without leading scorer Matthew Tkachuk due to an unspecified illness — a 1-0 lead by following up a rebound from Eric Staal 5:30 into the game.

Reinhart one-timed a pass from Carter Verhaeghe at 10:14 of the third.

Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, coming off a shutout win against Columbus on Tuesday, took the loss and made 33 saves.

NOTES: The Panthers again started a game short-handed as Tkachuk did not play due to an illness which has been sweeping through his team’s locker room. Captain Aleksander Barkov, Anton Lundell, Verhaeghe and Spencer Knight have all missed games in the past few weeks because they were sick. Florida was also without Radko Gudas and Chris Tierney as both are in concussion protocol; Colin White did not play due to an unspecified injury. Pittsburgh forward Jason Zucker continues to be out with a foot injury. Drew O’Connor and Mark Friedman were healthy scratches by the Penguins.


Penguins: At Carolina on Sunday.

Panthers: At New Jersey on Saturday night.

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