PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- If Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh
Penguins want to finally notch their elusive first win of the
season, they will have to do it against one of the top
goaltenders in the NHL.
Crosby and the Penguins hope to snap their season-opening
eight-game winless skid on Tuesday when they host star netminder
Roberto Luongo and the Florida Panthers.
Pittsburgh's woes continued last Saturday as the Boston Bruins
scored four goals in the second period en route to an easy 6-3
victory. Crosby was the one bright spot for the Penguins,
registering a pair of assists in the final session.
Although he has posted a plus-minus rating of minus-2, Crosby
seems to have had no trouble adapting to the NHL. The rookie
phenom has scored a team-leading 11 points and has registered at
least one point in seven of his first eight games.
Despite boasting an explosive offense and an adequate power-play
unit, Pittsburgh has been one of the league's worst defensive
clubs. The Penguins have surrendered 39 goals - the
second-highest total in the NHL - and have killed off less than
79 percent of their penalties.
Those numbers do not bode well for a Pittsburgh team that has to
face Luongo, who owns the fourth-best save percentage in the
league. After allowing eight goals over a two-game stretch last
week, Luongo bounced back with a big performance on Thursday.
A finalist for the Vezina Trophy in 2003-04, Luongo stopped 29
shots as the Panthers posted a 3-2 victory over the Washington
Mike Van Ryn netted the game-winning tally for Florida, which
has dropped three of its four road games this year.