Ducks hope to carry momentum into Pittsburgh
Wednesday, 02.15.2012 / 12:33 AMDUCKS (23-24-9) at PENGUINS (32-19-5)
: PRIME (HD), ROOT (HD)
: Anaheim 6-2-2; Pittsburgh 7-2-1.
: This is the only meeting of the season between the two teams. In their last meeting way back on Nov. 5, 2010, Anaheim beat Pittsburgh at home, 3-2, behind goals from Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf and Saku Koivu.
: Anaheim looks to continue bridging the eight-point gap that stands between them and the playoffs on Wednesday in Pittsburgh. A win would be the Ducks' third in a row, but it'll need to come against a contender also going for their third straight. The Penguins have won six in a row at home and won't give up ground easily.
: They haven't been as good as they were in January – when they went 9-2-1 – but Anaheim will ask questions of the rest of the conference at its current pace. After a loss in Detroit to start the road swing, Anaheim dispatched Columbus and Minnesota. On Tuesday against the Wild, Anaheim showed its resolve with two third-period goals to overcome a 1-0 deficit. The hero? Corey Perry, of course, the same guy who scored a hat trick to put Columbus away two nights before.
"We're just playing the same way the whole game and not trying to do different things or be too cute when we get down," Perry said. "That's what we've been doing since we've been on this roll and we have to keep doing it."
: With a break since Sunday, the Penguins enter the final game of a three-game homestand rested and ready to finish it undefeated. Pittsburgh spent the weekend shelling Southeast opponents, starting with an 8-4 win against Winnipeg. The Pens followed that with a 4-2 win against Tampa Bay the next night to move into a tie with Philadelphia for the fourth with 69 points. Pittsburgh made the League's hottest team over the past 10 games look amateur, scoring four unanswered over a 15-minute span to seal it. Evgeni Malkin
continued his incredible hot streak, with 3 goals and 4 assists over the two games.
"It looks like he did in 2009 maybe when (Sidney Crosby
) went down and he kind of took over, that was kind of unbelievable," defenseman Kris Letang
said of Malkin. "But his game is better than it was two years ago. I think he's playing great hockey, and this is the first time I've seen him being that dominant."
: James Neal
is often a beneficiary of attention on Malkin. The winger has 2 goals and 4 assists over his last three games.
: Anaheim goalie Dan Ellis is out at least a month with a torn groin. … For Pittsburgh, Tyler Kennedy
will miss 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain, while Arron Asham
is out indefinitely with a concussion. Crosby has been sidelined since Dec. 6 with a concussion and soft tissue damage in his neck.
: While Marc-Andre Fleury
is third in the League with 29 wins, many of those have come courtesy of Pittsburgh's potent offense. Fleury has allowed three or more goals five times in his last eight games, a dangerous proposition considering Anaheim’s burgeoning attack.
: "We're facing a team that's playing really well. I think it's deceptive to look at where they are in the standings because of how they're playing. They're really making a push right now and playing desperate hockey, and that's what we're expecting." – Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma on Anaheim