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SUNRISE (SportsDirect Inc.) — Vincent Trocheck has emerged as another big offensive threat for the Florida Panthers, and the 22-year-old center looks to extend his goal-scoring streak to five games Saturday against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.
Trocheck leads the way with 17 tallies for the Atlantic Division-leading Panthers, who have won five straight contests.
“I think experience has a lot to do with it,” the Pittsburgh native told the Miami Herald. “I’m focusing on the defensive side of the puck more and realize if you work hard on the defensive side, it will create more offense.”
Florida has recorded 25 goals during its winning streak and seven power-play tallies in the last four contests as it prepares to host the Penguins, who dropped a 6-3 decision at Tampa Bay on Friday to end their four-game winning streak.
With leading scorer Evgeni Malkin (lower body) out, Pittsburgh will depend even more on captain Sidney Crosby, who has scored seven goals in the last five games and is riding a nine-game point streak.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, CITY, ROOT (Pittsburgh), FSN Florida
ABOUT THE PENGUINS (25-18-7): Crosby, who trails Malkin by three points with 46, has netted at least one goal in five straight contests and 19 in the last 31 games after a slow start to the season. Patric Hornqvist recorded a goal and an assist on Friday, giving him six points in his last five games, while Phil Kessel has registered at least one point in five consecutive contests. Marc-Andre Fleury has allowed nine goals in his last two games, including four before being pulled on Friday, but is 14-8-1 with a .921 save percentage in his career against Florida.
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (31-15-5): Trocheck leads Jaromir Jagr and Reilly Smith by one goal for the team lead while 20-year-old center Aleksander Barkov has tallied in each of his last three contests. Barkov and Jussi Jokinen both are riding five-game point streaks while Jagr has posted two goals and three assists in his last four contests. Veteran Willie Mitchell (lower body) is not likely to return and fellow defenseman Erik Gudbranson (undisclosed) is doubtful, which could give Brent Regner a chance to make his NHL debut.
1. Florida G Roberto Luongo, who is expected to get the start, has allowed six goals during a four-game winning streak.
2. Pittsburgh C Oskar Sundqvist registered one shot in his first NHL game Friday after being recalled to replace injured C Eric Fehr (lower body).
3. The Penguins have earned at least one point in four straight meetings (3-0-1) with the Panthers, including a 3-2 overtime triumph on Oct. 20.
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