The Penguins entered the game hobbled with injuries, as Evgeni Malkin joined Sidney Crosby, James Neal and Paul Martin on the scratch list, leaving the offensive rotations very thin.
The Penguins dominated the Panthers from the opening face-off. Both teams hustled around the ice, but the Pens made the most of the limited offensive opportunities, scoring two goals on seven shots. The first goal came midway through the first when Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang squeaked the puck past Florida goalie Jacob Markstrom on an assist from Beau Bennett as Morrow screened the goalie.
After the first goal, the Pens kept up the offensive pressure when Pittsburgh’s Morrow slapped home a rebound on assists from Bennett and Joe Vitale. The Pens stifled the Panthers on the offensive end, holding them to only six shots in the first period and entering the intermission up 2-0.
The Pens came out of the break firing, but the Panthers came away with the only goal of the period. Florida’s Brian Campbell passed to Jack Skile, who wrapped the puck around the back of the net before feeding Scottie Upshall for a goal off a rebound after Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury blocked Upshall’s first shot.
Pittsburgh picked up the first penalty of the game midway through the second period. The Pens successfully killed the penalty as Fleury stopped a one-on-one breakaway. A 4-on-4 ensued after a Panthers penalty, but the Penguins failed to score on their power play. Pittsburgh’s Vitale picked up a penalty a few minutes later, and the defense managed to killed the power play and maintain the one-goal lead.
Florida was hit with their second penalty of the game after being caught with too many men on the ice. The penalty occurred in the last minute of the second period, and the Pens went into the break with a minute to go on the power play.
Pens failed to capitalize on the power play to open the third period. Despite giving up two power plays in the period, Pittsburgh kept Florida from scoring thanks to the work of the penalty kill unit and Fleury’s solid net-minding.
Pittsburgh picked up a power play with just under two minutes to play, and Morrow scored an empty netter on an assist from Pascal Depuis to finish off the game.
Pittsburgh successfully killed all four of the Panther power plays.
Fleury improved to 21-6 on the season.
The Penguins face Montreal at home on Wednesday.