By Adam Brady (email@example.com)
ANAHEIM – Try as they might, the Ducks just couldn’t conquer the juggernaut that is the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Ducks got two goals from Corey Perry
and another from Saku Koivu
, but two Pittsburgh strikes during a scoring flurry in the third did in the Ducks and gave Pittsburgh a tense 4-3 decision. A Penguins team that previously won just once in its last 13 games in California earned an NHL-record seventh straight road win to start the season.
"We put in a good effort, but it’s still a loss," Perry said. "If we keep playing like we did in the third period, bounces have to come for us. We’re playing a little stronger and trying to put 60 minutes together. It’s something that we’re preaching every day in practice. "
All the scoring in that pivotal final period came within a window of 1:18, when Pittsburgh found the net twice and Koivu sandwiched his second of the year in between. And despite repeated Anaheim opportunities to tie the score – including during the final minute with an empty net and an extra attacker – the Ducks were denied by the Pens and their goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury.
Pittsburgh took its first lead of the third period 7:55 into it, when Alex Goligoski jumped on a loose puck and rifled a slap shot over Jonas Hiller
But Koivu evened the score just 19 seconds later when linemate Teemu Selanne
was able to tap the puck to him from behind the net and Koivu sent it under Fleury from a bad angle.
The elation among the home fans following that goal was short-lived, as Pascal Dupuis sent another slap shot from the point past Hiller just 59 seconds later.
"I have to do a better job finding the puck on those goals," Hiller admitted. "I lost it on its way. I have to look at it again and see who was screening me, if it was our guy or their guy."
The Ducks missed on a number of chances to tie it late, notably with about four minutes left in the game. After a scramble in the crease, Fleury was way out of position with the puck on Scott Niedermayer’s stick, and the Ducks captain’s shot was saved right in front of the net by a sliding Sidney Crosby. A minute and a half earlier, Koivu received a nice pass from behind the net by linemate Teemu Selanne
, but his one-timer wasn't high enough and went right into the stretched-out glove of Fleury.
"We had lots of chances and there was lots of frustration coming to the bench," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "The emotion that we displayed at the end was consistent though the game, so it wasn’t like we were not in the hockey game."
Time eventually ran out on the Ducks, who fell to 4-7-2 and for the second straight night found themselves on the losing end of a well-played game and another great night by Perry.
The white-hot winger was a major reason the Ducks went into that third period even. He opened the scoring 3:57 into the game by pouncing on a puck lying flat in the slot, spinning 180 degrees and slinging it under goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. It was the 100th career goal for the fifth-year player.
The Ducks carried that 1-0 lead into the second period, but Pittsburgh wiped it out early courtesy of Michael Rupp 2:39 into the session. After a couple of Penguins opportunities on net went astray, Rupp took a Tyler Kennedy pass in the slot and fired it off Hiller and in.
Kris Letang gave the Pens their first lead at the halfway point of the period, during a delayed penalty that gave Pittsburgh a six-on-five advantage. Letang fired a shot from the high slot that eluded Hiller.
But Perry evened things up with his second of the game, and sixth in the last four, with 3:59 left in the period. Perry was all over Fleury as a Ryan Getzlaf
shot bounced off the goalie, and Perry pushed it through.
The game was rife with storylines, including the first game against their former teams for former Duck Chris Kunitz and current Anaheim defenseman Ryan Whitney, who were traded for each other in a deal last February. It also marked the first game for Pens head coach Dan Bylsma against his former team since taking over the job last February and leading Pittsburgh to the Cup title four months later. Meanwhile, it was the second matchup between Crosby and Bobby Ryan
, the top two picks in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
"They don’t win a championship with two guys," Perry said. "It takes 23 guys in that dressing room. They all played well tonight. Fleury played well. He stood on his head a couple of times. When they have everybody going, they are a pretty tough team to beat."
The Pens played their third game without winger Evgeny Malkin, last year's NHL scoring champion and reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner, out with a shoulder strain. The Ducks, meanwhile, were without defenseman James Wisniewski
, serving the first of a two-game suspension for a hit last Saturday night in Phoenix.
"If we continue to play with that level of emotion and just raise our execution a little bit," Carlyle said, "then we will see a lot of positive signs."
recorded his fourth multi-goal game of the season tonight (2-0=2) while also extending his goal streak to a career-high four games (5-2=7). His first goal tonight accounted for his 100th NHL goal. Perry also extended his point streak to a season-high six games (6-4=10).
extended his point streak to a season-high six games with an assist tonight (1-8=9).
With an assist this evening, Teemu Selanne
tied Jean Beliveau for 38th on the NHL’s all-time points list (585-634=1219) and tied Neal Broten for 63rd in all-time NHL assists.
appeared in his 100th career NHL game tonight, earning an assist. He has collected 3-3=6 points in the last four games.
With an assist in tonight’s contest, Scott Niedermayer has earned points in four of the last five games (1-5=6).
extended his point streak to three-games (1-2=3) with a goal in tonight’s game.
Tonight’s attendance was 16,128.
20:00 - END OF GAME - The Ducks make a valient effort to tie it, but can't overcome two Pittsburgh goals in the third and fall, 4-3. Seventh straight road win to start the season for the Pens, a new league record.
19:59 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry
, 2 min. boarding Faceoff comes outside the zone and in a desperate attempt to dump it in, Niedermayer ices it. When Orpik goes to touch it, Perry slams him into the wall.
19:52 - Timeout Ducks with 8.0 left. They'll have a 6 on 5.
19:30 - Koivu looks to have a chance at an open net, but the puck is at his skates and he can't react quick enough.
18:50 - Hiller to the bench for an extra attacker.
17:05 - Ducks with a couple more opportunities denied by an eyelash.
16:00 - Another agonizing development for the Ducks, as Fleury is way out of position as a loose puck comes to Niedermayer. He fires at the empty net, but Sidney Crosby, of all people, slides on his side to make the stop in the crease.
14:20 - Absolute heartbreak as Selanne slips a pass from behind the net to the doorstep, where Koivu one-times it, but Fleury reaches out to glove it. Koivu might have gotten the puck a little higher, but still a heck of a save. There's a video review to see it the puck was over the stripe as Fleury gloved it, but no need. It's a clean stop, and a tough one to take for Anaheim.
11:20 - Marchant looks like he takes a stick to the face as he clears the zone -- no call.
9:43 - ANA Penalty - Saku Koivu
, 2 min. interference. After the whistle, Koivu does a little shoving with Brooks Orpik. Only Koivu gets the gate.
9:13 - PITTSBURGH GOAL - PASCAL DUPUIS - And just like that, Pittsburgh is in the lead again, as Hiller is again bitten by a slap shot from the point. Dupuis winds up and drills a slap shot from inside the blue line that blazes by Hiller's glove. It's a 4-3 Pittsburgh lead.
8:14 - ANAHEIM GOAL - SAKU KOIVU - The Ducks don't take long to get the equalizer as this time Selanne wins the battle for a loose piece of rubber. Right behind the Pittsburgh net, he's able to reach out and tap it to linemate Koivu, who slips it under Fleury from right near the right post. We're tied 3-3 on Koivu's second of the year.
7:55 - PITTSBURGH GOAL - ALEX GOLIGOSKI - As Selanne and Kennedy both go after a loose puck in the slot, Kennedy is able to tap it away toward the blue line. That's where Goligoski jumps on it and tags a slap shot over Hiller's shoulder. It's 3-2 Pens.
0:00 - Off we go in the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks give up one on a delayed penalty, but Corey Perry
to the rescue again, as the Blonde Bomber gets his second of the game to tie it at 2-2.
The always-entertaining Kiss Cam is highlighted by an especially brave (and possibly tipsy) dude literally crawling on top of his girl to plant a kiss -- or several.
19:16 - Perry, in that ever-eluside attempt at his first career hat trick, looks like he might have it on a shot from the near wing and another from the slot after the rebound. But Fleury makes two nice stops and hangs on with Carter all over him.
Lots of Pens fans in the house tonight, due to the cold-weather-city-people-relocate-to-Southern-California factor. But an attempt at a "Let's Go Pens!" chant is drowned out by a louder "Let's Go Ducks!" one.
16:01- ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - Corey ... Freakin' ... PERRY, ladies and gentlemen. Getzlaf throws a shot at the net in deep that Fleury can't hold onto, and Perry is right on top of him to punch in the puck as it squirts away. Second of the game, sixth in the last four for No. 10. It's 2-2.
12:02 - The Ducks keep the puck in the Pens' end for quite awhile, but get a little cute and can't put anything through.
11:17 - PIT Penalty - Chris Kunitz, 2 min. hooking. The Ducks don't have the same luck on the delayed penalty, as Selanne gets off a not-so-good shot wide open from the wing on the rush and Whitney and Koivu try but can't punch in the rebound. Ducks power play coming up after the timeout.
10:02 - PITTSBURGH GOAL - KRIS LETANG - The Pens have six on the ice after Fleury heads to the bench during a delayed penalty and Letang fires a wrist shot from the high slot that travels through a little bit of traffic and eludes Hiller. He might have been shielded a bit by his own guy, Brendan Mikkelson. It's 2-1 Pittsburgh.
6:45 - Getzlaf gets kicked out of the faceoff circle and it's No. 1 and No. 2 in the 2005 draft taking the draw (Crosby vs. Ryan). You don't see that very often.
It's trivia time and Marie from Yorba Linda is asked which team did Penguins coach (and former Duck) Dan Bylsma start his coaching career with. She's given New York Islanders, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins or Cincinnati Mighty Ducks. She guesses the Penguins and she's ... wrong. It's Cincy. And the guy in front of her wins tickets to the Breeder's Cup, held this weekend at Santa Anita.
4:50 - Absolute heartbreak as Bobby Ryan
can't put the puck in a wide open net on a feed from Perry that drew Fleury out. On further review, the puck was barely tipped by a lunging Jordan Staal.
2:39 - ANA Penalty - Sheldon Brookbank
, 2 min. roughing and PIT Penalties - Matt Cooke, 2 min. roughing and Jay McKee, 2 min. unsportsmanlike conduct. A little bit of rough stuff after the goal.
2:39 - PITTSBURGH GOAL - MICHAEL RUPP - After Hiller makes a huge stop and Alex Goligoski misses an open net, Hiller finally runs out of good fortune. Rupp takes a Tyler Kennedy pass in the slot and fires it off Hiller and over the stripe. It's 1-1.
2:20 - Ducks spend a good amount of time throwing the puck on net in the Pittsburgh zone, with big work by Marchant and Artyukhin.
0:20 - Hiller makes his mark early by snagging a Crosby shot out of the air with the glove. Might have been going wide, but still pretty.
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
Here's a photo of the Ducks wearing those camouflage warmup jerseys for Operation Homefront.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Heck of an effort by the Ducks, part of which they brought on themselves with four penalty kills. But they keep the Pens out of the net and get one from (who else) Perry to go out in front.
19:22 - Another questionable call as Koivu races Martin Skoula to touch the puck behind the Pittsburgh net and touches first, but they still call icing.
18:35 - Mike Brown battles to knock the puck out of the zone on the PK. Mike Brown might be my new favorite-player-who-is-very-few-people's-favorite-player.
17:03 - ANA Penalty - Saku Koivu
, 2 min. interference. And yet another. Although, looked like a nice diving penalty could have been given to Mark Eaton, who took a little check in the back from Koivu and went sprawling.
16:23 - Another big kill for the Ducks, who definitely shouldn't keep this up. Three penalties in the first 14:23.
Kind of a funny moment during the timeout as Power Player Meghan is holding up the camouflage jerseys the Ducks wore in warmups for Operation Homefront (photos later) for the Prime Ticket camera. Unfortunately, she's holding it so high that, combined with her halter top, she looks naked behind that thing.
14:23 - ANA Penalty - Bobby Ryan
, 2 min. goaltender interference. Tough call to take as Fleury pops out to kick-save a Getzlaf shot from the right wing and Ryan's momentum carries him into the goalie and he bowls over him.
11:15 - ANA Penalty - Brendan Mikkelson
, 2 min. delay of game. Mikkelson fires over the glass. Two tough penalties to take in the early going for the boys in black. Mikkelson didn't have anyone near him as he accidentally got too much air under that puck.
11:10 - Big kill for the Ducks is complete as Hiller makes a stop in the high chest just as Carter rejoins the festivities.
9:50 - Niedermayer battles with former teammate Kunitz to pin the puck against the board for what seemed like an eternity. Exactly what you want on a PK.
Another nice tribute for a returning player, as the video board shows a Chris Kunitz highlight, followed by a picture of him holding the Cup aloft, followed by a live shot of him waving to the crowd from the Pittsburgh bench. Always a cool moment.
9:00 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Carter
, 2 min. interference. Just as Brown throws one across the crease from the left wing (yet another shot on net for this line), Carter gets called for running Jay McKee into the net and dislodging it.
4:55 - Lupul tries to make it 2-0 with plenty of room to shoot in the slot, but it hits Fleury in the chest.
3:57 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - It's starts again with Niedermayer fluttering one on net. From the left wing wall, he throws that knuckleball that gets knocked down in front by Brooks Orpik. It's on the ice in the slot, where Perry pounces on it, turns and slings it under Marc-Andre Fleury. It's the fifth in the last four games for Perry (career high goal streak), who is just playing incredibly as of late. Also, 100th career goal for him. It's 1-0 Anaheim.
2:45 - Fourth line continues to grind, as both Parros and Brown have shots in deep.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center, Getzlaf vs. Crosby at the center ice faceoff. Not bad at all.
7:07 - Nice job on the anthem from one of the rare dudes we have singing it here, Brad Haynes.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jonas Hiller
; PIT Marc-Andre Fleury
Starting Skaters - ANA Nick Boynton, Scott Niedermayer, Bobby Ryan
, Ryan Getzlaf
, Corey Perry
; PIT Brooks Orpik, Kris Letang, Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby, Bill Guerin
Scratches - ANA Erik Christensen, James Wisniewski
; PIT Chris Conner, Evgeni Malkin
Full Lineups/Game Notes