PITTSBURGH (AP) _ The Pittsburgh Penguins are no longer 0-for-2004 at home.
Rookie Andy Chiodo stopped 26 shots, including 17 in the third period, to
make first-period goals by Ric Jackman and Matt Bradley stand up and the
Penguins snapped a 16-game home winless streak with a 2-1 victory over the
Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Saturday.
The Penguins, who also endured an 18-game winless streak overall earlier
this season, were 0-15-1 at home since defeating Chicago on Dec. 29.
``We played a pretty darn good game against a team that was desperate, but I
expected that kind of desperation from us, too,'' said Chiodo, who has taken
over as Pittsburgh's No. 1 goaltender since being recalled from the minor
leagues Feb. 17.
``I don't think anybody made it easy on them tonight.''
The loss was a blow to the Ducks, the defending Western Conference champions
who began the night six points out of a playoff spot. Playing their third game
in four nights, they managed just 10 shots in the first two periods and only
two during a critical four-minute power play early in the third.
``The third period, once again, is just not going to cut it for you in this
league,'' said Anaheim's Steve Rucchin, whose goal with 9.8 seconds left in the
first period was the game's final goal. ``We weren't getting the puck to the
net enough. Waiting until the third period ... it's too late in this league.''
Pittsburgh, which set an NHL record by losing 14 consecutive home games
until tying the New York Islanders on Tuesday, barely avoided another dubious
entry in the record book. The longest home winless streak in NHL history is 17
games, set by Ottawa (0-15-2) in 1995-96 and matched by Atlanta (0-15-2) in
``It's awesome, a great feeling, to finally break this home streak,''
defenseman Josef Melichar said.
Melichar set up Bradley's game-winning goal on a two-on-one break at 12:12
after taking the puck from Joffrey Lupul, who fell at the Pittsburgh blue line.
``It's a game of mistakes,'' Melichar said. ``I made one last game, and
tonight they made one and we got a goal.''
The Penguins were coming off an embarrassing 9-4 home loss to Nashville on
Thursday, allowing a team-record six power-play goals.
``We've been pretty good on nights right after we've been either blown out
or taken advantage of,'' Pittsburgh coach Ed Olczyk said. ``But the energy in
the building was phenomenal and I give our fans a lot of credit. Even during
the national anthem our guys were pretty pumped up.''
The crowd of 14,286, the sixth-largest of the season for the Penguins, was
treated to a rare first period as Pittsburgh took its first 2-0 at home in
almost 13 months.
Jackman beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere with a one-timer from the center point
on the power play at 2:24 for his seventh goal, and Bradley followed with his
``Our goal every game is to have a good first period, but it doesn't always
happen,'' Bradley said. ``The first 15 minutes tonight were the best stretch
we've had in a long time. Maybe all year.''
The Ducks, who managed just one shot in the opening 19 minutes of the first
period, cut the lead in half with 9.8 seconds left when Rucchin converted the
rebound of Rob Niedermayer's backhander for his 18th goal.
``They came out and played very well and they really skated,'' Anaheim coach
Mike Babcock said. ``Yet, in saying that, I really thought that we didn't
establish any kind of game until the third period. Here we are in a must-win
situation and we didn't handle it the way you have to.''