By Adam Tenenbaum
The Ducks returned home for the second game of back-to-backs as they played the Los Angeles Kings last night and now play host to the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins come into the game 6-2-1, good for 13 points, while the Ducks are 4-4-2, good for 10 points. The starting goaltenders for the game were Matt Murray for the Penguins and John Gibson for the Ducks. The Ducks were without the services of Ryan Getzlaf and Nick Ritchie, as they sat out the game with injuries and are day-to-day.
In the first, the Penguins would score two goals just three minutes apart to take a 2-0 lead. The first goal was scored by Evgeni Malkin and the second by former mighty duck, Matt Cullen. The Ducks challenged the second goal as being offsides, but the officials determined the replay was inconclusive and upheld the goal. Late in the period, Chris Kunitz went to the box for slashing, as the Ducks got their first power play of the night. On the power play, Cam Fowler would score, cutting the Penguins lead in half, as the Ducks trailed 2-1. That would be the score after one period of play. Shots in the first period were 13 to 6 in favor of the Ducks.
Early in the second, the Penguins would get their first power play as Antoine Vermette was called for holding. The Penguins did not score as the score remained 2-1. Later in the period, Jared Boll and Tom Sestito dropped the gloves and each received five for fighting. A few minutes later, Bryan Rust would get the Penguins on the board again, as they extended their lead to 3-1. At the end of the period, Evgeni Malkin would go the box for roughing and interference, while Andrew Cogliano got two minutes for embellishment. That would put the Ducks on the power play, but the man advantage was short lived as Ryan Kesler was called for tripping. The score at the end of two periods was 3-1 Penguins. Shots in the second were 21 to 7 in favor of Pittsburgh.
In the third, Kris Letang would score a power play goal assisted by Justin Schultz as the Penguins now led the Ducks 4-1. Following the goal, Scott Wilson would get a penalty shot, but it was denied by Gibson to keep the game at 4-1. Later in the period, Sidney Crosby finds Patric Hornqvist, who one times it past Gibson as the Penguins opened up a 5-1 lead on the Ducks. That would be the final score of the game as the Ducks were defeated at home 5-1 by Pittsburgh, who sweeps the season series 2-0. Shots in the third were 13 to 7 in favor of Anaheim.
The Ducks looked out of sync without the services of Getzlaf and Ritchie. They got down early 2-0 and were able to get one goal back by Fowler before the end of the first period. Anaheim started the second with some chances, but Pittsburgh turned on the pressure with 21 shots in the period. The Penguins would score the next three goals and cruise to a 5-1 victory.
Ondrej Kase made his NHL debut playing on the third line with Joseph Cramarossa and Chris Wagner. Rickard Rakell and Antoine Vermette played on the top line with Corey Perry. Jonathan Bernier also made an appearance in the third period. Gibson was run into earlier in the game and stayed in initially until being relieved. The short-handed Ducks will have to regroup as they host Arizona this Friday Honda Center.
Gibson is now 1-3-0 against Pittsburgh.
With Fowler’s power play goal, he is now tied for the team lead in scoring with four goals.
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