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NHL Penguins celebrate end to winless streak

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Ric Jackman's goal in overtime snapped the Penguins' 18-game skid.
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- After ending an 18-game winless streak, the Pittsburgh Penguins were in the mood to celebrate.
"It's pretty exciting in light of how hard this team has worked and suffered an unfortunate fate the last little while," rookie goalie Andy Chiodo said.
Chiodo made 28 saves for his first NHL win, and Ric Jackman scored with 3 minutes, 12 seconds remaining in overtime as the Penguins beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-3 Wednesday night.
Jackman redirected a shot by Dick Tarnstrom past Brian Boucher and promptly was mobbed on the ice by his jubilant teammates.
"I almost messed it up," said Jackman, positioned in the low slot on the goal. "I was getting yelled at from the bench because I was too low."
Came from behind
Ryan Malone and Aleksey Morozov scored second-period goals, the latter coming with 26 seconds remaining in the period, and the Penguins came back from a 3-1 deficit for their first win since Jan. 12 at Philadelphia.
"We worked pretty hard considering we only had a couple of chances," Malone said.
"Our best chances came after good defensive plays. That's where we need to make it happen."
The game was sloppy throughout, befitting a contest between two teams with a combined two wins in their last 34 games. They combined for multiple missed passes, some shaky goaltending and 11 minor penalties.
Pittsburgh twice found itself killing off 5-on-3 power plays, the second of which effectively became a three-man advantage when the Penguins' Mike Eastwood broke his stick and was playing defense empty-handed for 12 seconds.
On another play, Josef Melichar bowled over Chiodo from behind, leaving the goalie scrambling as Phoenix played the puck behind the net.
Spoiled coach's return
The Penguins' rally spoiled the return of Phoenix interim coach Rick Bowness, who took over the club after Bobby Francis was fired Tuesday.
Melichar also scored for the Penguins, who beat the Coyotes for the first time since the team moved to Phoenix from Winnipeg before the 1996-97 season, a span of seven games.
Jan Hrdina scored a power-play goal, and Cale Hulse and Mike Sillinger added goals for the Coyotes, 2-9-2-2 in their last 15 games.
Morozov tied the score with his ninth goal off a long rebound following a two-on-one break. Malone had pulled the Penguins within 3-2 earlier in the second period, also scoring on a two-on-one following a Coyotes breakdown.