Penguins Ride Big 3rd Period To Beat Ducks, 3-1
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PITTSBURGH (CBSLA.com/AP) — Sidney Crosby capped a third-period outburst with his 10th goal of the season, and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 on Monday night.
Brian Gibbons scored on the first shot of his NHL career and Brandon Sutter chipped in his fourth goal of the season as Pittsburgh’s struggling offense found a rhythm late against the Pacific Division-leading Ducks.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 26 shots for Pittsburgh, which won for only the second time in six games. Crosby’s goal was just his second in 11 games.
Ryan Getzlaf scored his 11th goal for the Ducks, who earned just one point during a four-game East Coast road trip. Viktor Fasth made 24 saves but struggled in the final 20 minutes.
Gibbons took a slick backhand pass from Evgeni Malkin to break a scoreless tie 3:56 into the third.
Malkin did most of the work. He skated across the blue line and then did a 360-degree tour of the Anaheim zone with two Ducks chasing him before finding Gibbons in the slot. The 25-year-old Gibbons beat Fasth over the shoulder to put the Penguins in front.
The Penguins needed just 62 seconds to make it 2-0, as Sutter deflected a shot from the point by Olli Maatta.
Anaheim responded immediately when Getzlaf scored his fifth goal in four games by anchoring himself in front of the net. He patiently waited for Fleury to slide out of position before tucking the puck past the sprawled goaltender.
Fleury recovered to make a pair of acrobatic saves on an Anaheim power play.
Crosby pushed Pittsburgh back in front by two when he took advantage of a screen from Chris Kunitz to sneak a shot from the right circle past Fasth and cap the Penguins’ three-goal outburst in a span of 4:04.
The goals came after Penguins coach Dan Bylsma shuffled lines during the pregame skate, hoping to spark an offense that had scored only one goal in four of its last five games — losing those four.
Pascal Dupuis moved from the top line with Crosby to the second line with Malkin. Jussi Jokinen, second on the team in goals, was bumped down to the third line to give Sutter a little help.
The initial results were underwhelming.
Then again, Anaheim had a little something to do with it. The Ducks, in the midst of their first rough patch following a brilliant start, dominated the first 20 minutes. They clogged passing lanes, gave Pittsburgh’s talented forwards little room to freelance and controlled play for long stretches.
Pittsburgh didn’t record a shot on Fasth until 2:02 left in the first period, when Bennett managed to redirect a pass from Crosby into Fasth’s chest. The arena roared in mock celebration, though for all of the Penguins’ offensive issues, things remained scoreless thanks to Fleury.
Starting for the 19th time in Pittsburgh’s 22 games, Fleury turned aside several early scoring chances, including a pair of opportunities by Getzlaf.
The Penguins grew so frustrated at one point that Bylsma paired Malkin with Crosby and Kunitz for a couple of shifts looking to get something started. It produced better flow but nothing that found its way by Fasth. Pittsburgh’s best chance came when Malkin skated behind the Anaheim net and deftly dropped the puck to a sprinting Kunitz, whose backhand shot banged off Fasth — who wasn’t looking because he thought Malkin still had the puck — and then hit the crossbar before rolling out of danger.
The Ducks return to Anaheim, where they are undefeated this season, to face the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday.
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