Panthers write off Pens

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SUNRISE, Fla. – Olli Jokinen scored three goals to help the Florida Panthers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 on Wednesday night.

It was Jokinen’s third career hat trick and his second this season. Jozef Stumpel and Martin Gelinas each had a goal and two assists for Florida, which improved to 4-0-1 in its last five at home.

The Panthers have won 14 of their last 15 against Pittsburgh, including a 2-0 mark this season.

Evgeni Malkin and Colby Armstrong scored for Pittsburgh, which has lost three in a row after winning three straight.

Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, the NHL’s leading scorer, was held without a point for only the second time in his last 14 games. He had a breakaway in the first period, but Alex Auld made a glove save on his wrist shot.

Auld stopped 23 shots for Florida, while Jocelyn Thibault, making his first start in eight games for Pittsburgh, had 34 saves.

Jokinen scored in each period, tipping in a pass from Jay Bouwmeester in the first and blasting one-time slap shots past Thibault in the second and third.

Florida took a 2-1 lead into the third period before Jokinen completed his hat trick 3:23 in. Stumpel scored 18 seconds later to make it 4-1.

Blues 3, Devils 2

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Dallas Drake scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period and Manny Legace made 24 saves to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night.

Keith Tkachuk and Dan Hinote also scored for the Blues, who won their second game in two nights, both on the road. Legace held off the Devils in the third period, stopping all 13 shots – including Brian Rafalski’s slap shot through a screen in the final seconds.

The Blues followed Tuesday’s 4-3 shootout win in Columbus with a determined effort in which they twice overcame one-goal deficits.

After a terrible start to the season, St. Louis has won eight of its last 11.

John Madden and Brian Gionta scored for the Devils, who had won three in a row.

Drake snapped a 2-2 tie by cutting to the net just as Barret Jackman wound up to shoot. Serving as an effective screen, Drake blocked Martin Brodeur’s line of sight as the puck bounced off him at 9:35.

Sabres 2, Blackhawks 1

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CHICAGO – Ryan Miller made 34 saves and Jochen Hecht and Maxim Afinogenov scored to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 2-1 victory over the slumping Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night.

Miller wasn’t heavily tested by sputtering Chicago, which lost its fourth straight. He lost a bid for his second shutout of the season when the Blackhawks’ Denis Arkhipov scored a short-handed goal with 49.1 seconds left in the third.

The Sabres improved to 7-2-1 in their last 10 with their second straight win. They have 65 points, tied with Anaheim for the league lead.

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