SUNRISE, Fla. – Olli Jokinen had his first career hat trick, scoring twice during Florida’s four-goal first period, and the Panthers snapped a 12-game losing streak by beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3.

Kristian Huselius, Gary Roberts and Stephen Weiss also scored for Florida, which avoided tying the franchise record for consecutive losses. The Panthers had been 0-8-4 since winning 4-3 at Pittsburgh on Oct. 25.

Ziggy Palffy, Sidney Crosby and Erik Christensen had goals for Pittsburgh, which has lost 10 straight to Florida. Palffy added two assists.

Jokinen’s hat trick – in his 500th NHL game – was Florida’s first since Pavel Bure did it on March 17, 2001, against Toronto.

Florida’s Roberto Luongo stopped 36 shots.

Huselius and Jokinen scored 64 seconds apart to help Florida take a 2-0 lead three minutes in en route to a 4-1 advantage after one period.

Huselius poked in a rebound from Lukas Krajicek’s slap shot that hit the end boards to the left of goalie Sebastien Caron. It was Huselius’ fifth goal.

Jokinen fired a shot past Caron’s right from just inside the center blue line for his eighth goal at 3:00.

Just 17 seconds after Palffy deflected Christensen’s cross-ice pass for his 10th goal at 8:11, Roberts wristed a shot past Caron’s stick side for his fourth goal and a 3-1 Panthers lead.

Jocelyn Thibault then replaced Caron.

Jokinen scored his ninth goal, a wrist shot to Thibault’s high glove side, at 13:34 of the first.

Crosby took advantage of a lapse by Florida’s defense to score from right in front of Luongo 48 seconds into the second. The rookie was alone when he took Palffy’s pass.

Christensen scored at 8:00 of the second to pull Pittsburgh within 4-3. Jokinen and Weiss then scored two minutes apart to give Florida a 6-3 lead.

Jokinen’s third goal, at 10:56 of the second, came on a 2-on-1 with Chris Gratton. Jokinen, skating in on the right, one-timed Gratton’s pass into the net.

Notes: Despite Florida’s two goals in the first three minutes, the arena scoreboard showed 0-0 until 12:20 remained in the first period. … Pittsburgh has failed to score first in 17 of 23 games. … Hall of Fame D Bobby Orr was at the game.

AP-ES-11-25-05 2219EST


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