The Ducks put the finishing touches on a six-game homestand tonight as they host the Pittsburgh Penguins at Honda Center. (7 p.m. PT, TV: Prime Ticket, Radio: AM 830). Ironically, the Ducks' last victory came against the Penguins on December 17 at PPG Paints Arena (4-2 W). Since then, the Ducks have gone winless in nine straight, including a 2-1 overtime loss on Wednesday against the Ottawa Senators. Following tonight's game the Ducks will hit the road for five in a row beginning Sunday in Winnipeg.
Anaheim has won the last three games vs. Pittsburgh and owns a 14-18-3 all-time record against the Penguins. Here in Anaheim, the Ducks are 9-6-1 in 16 games vs. the Penguins. They've won three straight over Pittsburgh only three times in franchise history, the most recent (prior to their current streak) occurring Oct. 27, 1999-Dec. 15, 2002. In the most recent meeting, the Ducks rallied from a first-period two-goal deficit with four unanswered goals from Adam Henrique, Kiefer Sherwood, Ondrej Kase and Ryan Getzlaf, and a 28-save performance from Pittsburgh native John Gibson.
The Penguins have been on fire ever since their loss against the Ducks, losing just once in the 10 games that followed. They reeled off an eight-game winning streak, limiting their opponents to two goals or less in each of those games. Their lone defeat took place on January 6, a 5-3 setback against the Chicago Blackhawks at PPG Paints Arena. They promptly responded with a 5-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on January 8, but it came at a cost, as they lost Patric Hornqvist and Zach Aston-Reese to injuries. Yesterday it was announced Hornqvist suffered a concussion after a puck deflected off his stick and hit him in the face. The 32-year-old right wing had 26 points (15g/11a) in 34 games at the time of the injury. Aston-Reese suffered an upper-body injury after a fight with Florida's Colton Sceviour in the third period.
With a goal in their victory over the Panthers, Sidney Crosby reached the 20-goal mark for the 12th time in his NHL career, tying him with Penguins Hall-of-Fame owner Mario Lemieux for the most 20-goal seasons in franchise history. Crosby enters tonight's game with 15 points (4g/11a) in his last eight games and has multi-point performances in six of them. The 31-year-old center leads the club in goals (20), assists (33) and points (53), and ranks second in plus-minus (+21) and power-play goals (6). Goaltender Matt Murray is riding an eight-game winning streak, posting a 1.24 goals-against average, .963 save percentage and two shutouts over that span. Murray has allowed two or fewer goals in seven straight games - the longest such streak of his career.
Video: Ducks talk Pittsburgh, limiting turnovers