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The Anaheim Ducks are off to the best start in franchise history, but they will host a tough opponent they're not very familiar with on Monday - the resurgent Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Ducks (10-0-4) routed the Phoenix Coyotes 6-2 on Friday, getting a goal and two assists each from Chris Pronger and Teemu Selanne.
"Coming into the season, we realized we had a good team and we were going to need to build toward something special," said Pronger. "But it's early November, and nobody hands the trophies out right now."
Despite scoring six goals three times in the last six games and having one of the best records in the league, the Ducks do not appear satisfied.
"I don't think anybody in this dressing room is satisfied with the way we have played. At least I don't see anybody excited about it," said Selanne, who has scored in each of the last two games after having only one goal through the season's first 12 contests. "I haven't heard one time anyone talking about how good a team we are. We know we can be better, and we just have to keep pushing ourselves.
"We realize there's no better team in this league. That's what these guys believe here, and that's what it takes. We just have to raise the bar higher and higher. If you look at our lineup, there's no weaknesses, really. I don't think there's any limits to what we can do. I really believe we have all the tools."
The 36-year-old Selanne has six goals in his last eight games against the Penguins, but has not faced them since Jan. 24, 2004, with Colorado.
The Ducks also have not faced Pittsburgh since the 2003-04 season, a 2-1 loss on March 6, 2004. Anaheim went on to miss the playoffs that season, while Pittsburgh finished with the lowest point total in the NHL.
Things have changed since then. The Ducks have gained a point in every game this season and the Penguins (7-4-0) are looking to win eight of their first 12 games for the first time since 1995-96.
That Pittsburgh team finished with 102 points before losing in the Eastern Conference finals.
The current Penguins had their season-high five-game winning streak snapped on Saturday, losing 3-2 to the San Jose Sharks in a physical contest.
The loss also snapped rookie Evgeni Malkin's streak of a goal in each of his first six career games.
"It was hard to play against San Jose because they're a really tough team," Malkin said through a translator. "It was hard for me to take a shot."
The physical play could be a key to disrupting a young Pittsburgh club that has 20-year-old Malkin and 19-year-old Sidney Crosby as its leading scorers. The duo has a combined 29 points, but were both held without a point by San Jose.
The Penguins are 0-3-1 in their last four visits to Anaheim, where they have not won since Dec. 10, 1997.
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