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Ducks at Penguins preview

Anaheim eyeing best start in its history; Hornqvist game-time decision for Pittsburgh

by Wes Crosby / Independent Correspondent

DUCKS (3-0-0) at PENGUINS (1-2-0)



The Game

The Anaheim Ducks will try to open a season with four straight wins for the first time in their history when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday.

The Ducks, who entered the NHL as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 1993-94, also started 3-0-0 before winning their only Stanley Cup championship in 2006-07. They have allowed one goal in each of their first three games. 

Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist will be a game-time decision after being labeled day to day Wednesday, coach Mike Sullivan said. Hornqvist sustained a lower-body injury when he was hit in the leg by a shot from Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang in the first period of a 4-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.

The Penguins, who have been outscored 7-2 in its two losses, will conclude a season-opening four-game homestand.


Players to watch

Ducks goalie John Gibson, a Pittsburgh native, has made 98 saves in 101 shots (a .970 save percentage) through three starts this season. He is 4-4-0 with a 3.80 goals-against average and .886 save percentage against the Penguins.

Penguins center Sidney Crosby leads them with four points (one goal, three assists) in three games. He scored his first goal 32 seconds into the first period Tuesday.


They said it

"I can't think of anything better for this team right now. [Gibson] is the best goalie in the League, and leadership oozes off of him." -- Ducks coach Dallas Eakins

"The Ducks have had a great start. ... They play a strong team game. It's certainly going to be a test for us tonight." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan


Ducks projected lineup

Devin Shore -- Ryan Getzlaf -- Troy Terry

Rickard Rakell -- Isac Lundestrom -- Jakob Silfverberg

Max Jones -- Adam Henrique -- Ondrej Kase

Nick Ritchie -- Derek Grant -- Carter Rowney

Hampus Lindholm -- Josh Manson

Brendan Guhle -- Cam Fowler

Jacob Larsson -- Michael Del Zotto

John Gibson

Ryan Miller

Scratched: Korbinian Holzer, Max Comtois, Nicolas Deslauriers

Injured: Sam Steel (middle body)


Penguins projected lineup

Jake Guentzel -- Sidney Crosby -- Dominik Simon

Dominik Kahun -- Jared McCann -- Brandon Tanev

Zach Aston-Reese -- Teddy Blueger -- Patric Hornqvist

Adam Johnson -- Andrew Agozzino -- Sam Lafferty

Brian Dumoulin -- Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson -- Justin Schultz

Jack Johnson -- John Marino

Matt Murray

Tristan Jarry

Scratched: Juuso Riikola, Chad Ruhwedel, Erik Gudbranson

Injured: Evgeni Malkin (lower body), Nick Bjugstad (lower body), Bryan Rust (upper body), Alex Galchenyuk (lower body)


Status report

Steel practiced Wednesday but is not expected to play against Pittsburgh. ... Galchenyuk was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury Wednesday, when Sullivan said the second-line left wing was day to day.


Stat pack

Getzlaf will play his 988th game for the Ducks, tying Corey Perry for the most games played in their history. ... Murray needs two wins to reach 100 in the NHL. He is also one shutout from tying Les Brinkley (11) for third-most in Penguins history; Marc-Andre Fleury holds the Pittsburgh record with 44 shutouts and Tom Barrasso is second with 22.

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