The Anaheim Ducks look to end a nightmarish road trip on a strong note, as they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday night 4:30 pm PT/7:30 pm ET on the NBC Sports Network.
Pittsburgh Leads All-Time Series 12-10-2T
Last Three Meetings
Anaheim 2 Pittsburgh 1
Anaheim 3 Pittsburgh 2
Anaheim 3 Pittsburgh 4
Like the Ducks, the Penguins have hit hard times the last week, as they have lost four of their last five games, including three losses to divisional rivals – the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils.
They are led, as always, by captain Sidney Crosby who is currently one of the league leaders in points (25) and assists (16). Evgeni Malkin remains one of the more dynamic players in the game, but the production hasn’t matched the huge contract extension he will begin to play under next season.
Marc-Andre Fleury has been the team’s workhorse again this year, and is one of the league’s leaders in time played, only trailing the leader (Mike Smith) by 88 minutes.
Corey Perry – Perry has scored five goals in seven career games against Pittsburgh. His physical style of play in front of the net can create nightmares for most, especially a Penguins team that struggles in front of the net at times.
Evgeni Malkin – With Malkin’s struggles recently to put the puck in the net, the Pens need their superstar to break through if they are going to snap out of their funk. The more he struggles, the more the opposing teams can focus on stopping Crosby. To take down the top team in the league, it will take a total team effort, especially ‘Geno’.
Key To Victory – Goaltending
Both team’s goaltending have struggled recently, meaning they are going to be the ones to have to snap them out of their funks. Neither team’s number one goalie have spectacular numbers versing each other, so it will take one of them to step up and steal a game.
The Ducks Will Win If -
Hiller or Fasth avoid allowing any weak goals and the defense prevent sharpshooters like Jussi Jokinen and James Neal to get position in the offensive zone. If Crosby is allowed to get the puck with speed it will be nightmares for the Ducks. The PPG line wreaks havoc on the Penguins’ defenseman, and capitalize on any turnovers they can create.
The Penguins Will Win If -
Malkin gets working early on, in turn opening things up for Crosby to skate freely by getting a favorable matchup. The Penguins use their speed to create power play opportunities and they take advantage of the 27th ranked Ducks penalty kill.