PITTSBURGH (AP) -With so many scorers, the Pittsburgh Penguins are capable of putting up a lot of goals in a short time. The dead-tired Ducks found that out - twice - as they ended a two-continent, two-week road trip.
Petr Sykora scored twice and had an assist in his Pittsburgh home debut and the Penguins twice scored goals only seconds apart in a 5-4 victory over road-weary Stanley Cup champion Anaheim on Saturday night.
Sykora, a longtime Penguins antagonist while with New Jersey, put Pittsburgh up 4-3 by putting in a rebound of Georges Laraque's shot in front at 13:32 of third. After the ensuing faceoff, Sidney Crosby - getting his first point in two games - beat defenseman Chris Pronger to the puck and found Ryan Malone in the slot for Pittsburgh's second goal in 19 seconds.
"I couldn't ask for a better start at home," said Sykora, who signed with the youthful Penguins to give them an experienced, Cup-winning scoring threat. "Georges made a great play, he crashed the net and really opened it up for me."
The Penguins, the NHL's third highest-scoring team last season, scored only 20 seconds apart in the second period as Colby Armstrong and Evgeni Malkin each beat goalie Jonas Hiller to make it 3-2. Malkin had a goal and an assist and Gary Roberts had two assists.
"Everyone was motivated to play these guys," Crosby said as the Penguins followed up a season-opening, 4-1 loss at Carolina on Friday. "They're the champions, and we were all up for this game, playing Anaheim and it's the home opener."
In an unusual twist created by Anaheim's long trip to London to split two games with the Kings last weekend, the Penguins' first home game was the Ducks' fifth game and third in four nights - all of them home openers for the opposing team. The Ducks lost in a shootout Wednesday at Detroit before looking visibly fatigued in a 4-0 loss Friday night at Columbus.
Asked what the Ducks would do on the long flight home, defenseman Chris Pronger said, "Sleep. We're too tired to get angry."
The Ducks played much better against Pittsburgh but, with a 1-3-1 record, are off to a bad start a year after began 12-0-4 and 20-2-6 before eventually winning the Stanley Cup. They finally play their home opener Wednesday against Boston.
They're playing short-handed, too, without injured goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere and defenseman Mathieu Schneider and without two stars from the Cup team, defenseman Scott Niedermayer and forward Teemu Selanne. Each is weighing retirement. Hiller is Anaheim's No. 3 goalie, behind Giguere and Ilja Bryzgalov.
"We'll be better when we get our group together," coach Randy Carlyle said.
Anaheim, obviously not wanting to go home after such a long trip with so little to show for it, controlled much of the play early and took a 2-1 lead about 1 1/2 minutes into the second period on Ryan Getzlaf's shot from the slot. Defenseman Francois Beauchemin grabbed a pass from Sergei Gonchar that deflected off teammate Colby Armstrong and passed to Getzalf.
Armstrong made up for that on his next shift, putting an exceptional move on defenseman Maxim Kondratiev to create his own goal. Skating through the left wing circle, Armstrong pushed the puck behind Kondratiev, gathered it again and wristed it by Hiller, who beat the Kings last Sunday for Anaheim's only victory.
Armstrong's deft move with 3:56 gone in the second period not only got the sellout crowd of 17,133 going, it picked up his own team. Malkin scored at 4:16, passing from behind the net to Sykora at the edge of the right circle, then taking a giveback pass and stuffing it inside the left post.
Beauchemin figured in each of Anaheim's first three goals, twice setting up Chris Kunitz for goals.
"It was a long, five-game road trip but we were able to learn an awful lot about ourselves and an awful lot about the way we need to play," Pronger said. "We got back to crashing and banging and grinding on teams."
The Penguins got a scare not long after Kunitz's first goal when a Beauchemin shot struck Crosby - last year's scoring champion and MVP - on the side of his right foot as Crosby wasn't looking. Crosby, whose left foot was broken late last season, was in considerable pain until play was stopped. He was bent over for several minutes on the bench, but returned not long after that.
Notes: The Penguins scratched LW Jarkko Ruutu, who took two first period penalties and was on the ice for Carolina's first goal in a 4-1 loss Friday. ... Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was back in net, making 19 saves, after being pulled with Pittsburgh down 4-0 after two periods Friday. ... Pittsburgh won its second home opener in a row after losing eight of nine before that. ... The Penguins opened their season by playing the last two Stanley Cup champions on successive nights.
|PPG - Chris Kunitz (2) ASST: Francois Beauchemin (2), Chris Pronger (3)|
1 - 0 ANA
|PPG - Petr Sykora (1) ASST: Gary Roberts (1), Erik Christensen (1)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Ryan Getzlaf (2) ASST: Francois Beauchemin (3)|
2 - 1 ANA
|Colby Armstrong (1) ASST: Gary Roberts (2)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Evgeni Malkin (1) ASST: Petr Sykora (1)|
3 - 2 PIT
|SHG - Chris Kunitz (3) ASST: Francois Beauchemin (4)|
3 - 3 Tie
|Petr Sykora (2) ASST: Georges Laraque (1), Evgeni Malkin (2)|
4 - 3 PIT
|Ryan Malone (1) ASST: Sidney Crosby (1), Rob Scuderi (1)|
5 - 3 PIT
|Corey Perry (3) ASST: Ryan Getzlaf (1), Chris Kunitz (1)|
5 - 4 PIT
|Sean O'Donnell Hooking against Petr Sykora|
|Evgeni Malkin Interference against Francois Beauchemin|
|Ryan Malone Holding the stick against Ryan Getzlaf|
|Ryan Malone Cross checking against Rob Niedermayer|
|Shane Hnidy Holding against Adam Hall|
|Mark Recchi Tripping against Corey Perry|
|Kent Huskins Cross checking against Ryan Malone|
|Sergei Gonchar Cross checking against Francois Beauchemin|
|Corey Perry Interference against Marc-Andre Fleury|
|Ryan Getzlaf Tripping against Ryan Malone|