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Penguins aim to complete series sweep of Ducks

by Eric Goodman /

DUCKS (6-9-3) at PENGUINS (13-7-0)

Last 10 -- Anaheim 3-5-2; Pittsburgh 4-6-0

Season Series --
This is the second and final meeting between the two clubs this season. Pittsburgh took the first game of the series, 4-3, at Anaheim on Nov. 3. Pascal Dupuis potted the game-winner for the Penguins in the third period.

Big Story -- While these clubs typically play each other only once a season, the Penguins have not lost to the Ducks in regulation since the 2002-03 campaign, when Anaheim shut them out 5-0.

Team Scope:

Ducks --
Anaheim has recently hit a bit of a rough patch, losing four of its last six contests, including the first three of a four-game road trip which wraps up in Pittsburgh. Their most recent defeat was a 7-4 loss to Detroit on Saturday in which Henrik Zetterberg recorded a hat trick.

The club has also experienced a bit of inner turmoil as former Conn Smythe Trophy winner and Stanley Cup champion goalie Jean-Sebastian Giguere made his dissatisfaction public last week with his role as the backup to starter Jonas Hiller, before later changing his tune.

"It didn't come out exactly the way I wanted," Giguere said Wednesday. "I just wanted to say that I'm not done. I still want to play. I still want to battle and have fun."

Penguins -- Pittsburgh has been bogged down with injuries but finally got one of the League's best players back on Saturday as center Evgeni Malkin made an instant impact with three assists in a 6-5 overtime victory over Boston, including a helper on the game-tying, buzzer-beater goal by Bill Guerin at the end of regulation.

The Pens' victory over the Bruins ended a season-high four-game losing streak, due mainly to an anemic power-play unit that has gone 0-for-28 since last tallying a goal with the man advantage back on Oct. 28. Malkin had an assist on that power-play score against Montreal.

"He brings a lot of energy," Guerin said of Malkin after Saturday's victory. "He's a pretty energetic guy and doesn't show that side to a lot of people but just the way he plays picks the guys up."

Who’s hot -- Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf has an 11-game scoring streak in which he has compiled 19 points. For Pittsburgh, Malkin extended a three-game scoring streak dating back to late October before he suffered the shoulder strain that had kept him out of the lineup.

Injury report -- Anaheim center Saku Koivu sat out his third consecutive game on Saturday with a groin strain and is still questionable for Monday. For Pittsburgh, defenseman Brooks Orpik (lower body) is sidelined for two weeks. Center Max Talbot (shoulder surgery) is expected to return in about 10 days after being cleared for contact late last week. Defenseman Sergei Gonchar had the cast removed from his left (shooting) wrist Wednesday and was cleared for contact on Sunday. Defenseman Kris Letang (right shoulder contusion) probably won't return to action for at least a week. Finally, defenseman Alex Goligoski was absent from Sunday’s practice and will miss two to three weeks with a lower-body injury.

Stat Pack --
Getzlaf factored in all of the scoring for Anaheim in Saturday's loss, potting a goal and dishing out three assists. The Penguins have yet to score a power-play goal this season without Malkin in the lineup. Pittsburgh has tallied 11 power-play goals over 13 games with a healthy Malkin.

Puck drop --
The Penguins are clearly a different team with Malkin in the lineup and they should most likely improve upon their power play with the All-Star center back in action. However, it's tough to write the Ducks off just yet as Getzlaf and linemates Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry have proven that they can put points on the board no matter the situation. The potential exists for a wide-open, high-scoring game to break out.

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