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NHL Penguins' winless streak now 12 games



Published: Thu, March 20, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Florida handed Pittsburgh a 4-2 defeat on Sunday.

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- It wasn't surprising to Olli Jokinen that the Florida Panthers found a way to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins.

After all, they were on the road.

Jokinen scored a goal and set up two others Sunday, and Niklas Hagman had his first two-goal game in more than a year in the Panthers' 4-2 victory. Florida is 7-3-1 in its last 11 road games, but is winless in the last 10 home games.

"If we had even played a little bit closer to .500 at home, we'd be in the playoffs," said Jokinen, whose team is 7-17-7 at home for a league-low 26 points and is eight points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. "This is a young group, and there's a little more pressure to play at home."

Roberto Luongo made 31 saves and Viktor Kozlov set up Florida's final two goals as the Panthers scored more than two goals for the first time in 12 games.

Pens in scoring slump

The Penguins have been held to two or fewer goals in a franchise-record 10 consecutive games and are now winless in 12 games (0-11-1) -- matching the second-longest streak in team history.

Pittsburgh's eight-game home winless streak (0-7-1) also is the second longest in its history.

"You just have to battle," goalie Sebastien Caron said. "There's no reason to give up. Right now we have to win, and that's all we have to think about."

Hagman beat Caron on a two-on-pne break at 11:10 of the third period for his first two-goal game since February 2002. He had gone 18 games without a goal since scoring against Pittsburgh on Feb. 6, but moved up to Jokinen's line in the first period after Marcus Nilson hurt his shoulder.

"To only have seven goals ... I kind of expected more," said Hagman. "But when you have been struggling, you've just got to try and do everything you can to finish strongly."

Pittsburgh held 2-1 lead

Goals six minutes apart in the second period by Rico Fata and Dick Tarnstrom gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead and also ended Luongo's shutout streak against them at 151:24.

But Denis Shvidki's power-play goal late in the second period tied the game, and Jokinen, who had just one point in 10 previous games, scored the winner with 37 seconds remaining in the period. He scored his 34th goal by finishing off a two-on-one short-handed break against Martin Straka, who had broken his stick on a slap shot from the point.




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