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Pittsburgh native Gibson helps Ducks edge Penguins

by Abbey Mastracco

ANAHEIM -- Corey Perry and Chris Stewart scored and John Gibson made 23 saves against his hometown team in the Anaheim Ducks' 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Honda Center on Sunday.

It's the second time this season Anaheim (11-12-5) has won consecutive games.

"To put two together now, that's a big thing for our group," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "It's been a little bit of a struggle here, the last little while. It's nice to see us win a tight game against a good hockey team."

Gibson, who made his sixth straight start, is 4-2-1 since being recalled from San Diego of the American Hockey League on Nov. 21. A Pittsburgh native, he grew up rooting for the Penguins.

Olli Maatta scored and Marc-Andre Fleury made 23 saves for Pittsburgh (14-10-2).

Mattaa opened up the scoring 3:02 into the game when he beat Gibson with a shot from the high slot.

Ducks forward Rickard Rakell thought he scored on a power play at 7:08, but the Penguins successfully challenged the call after it replays showed Sami Vatanen was offside to start the play and the Penguins maintained a 1-0 lead.

Anaheim's Ryan Kesler and Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin were whistled for roughing at the conclusion of the first period. With the teams skating 4-on-4 to start the second, Perry's shot went off Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and over the goal line in to tie the game at 36 seconds.

Perry has scored three goals in the past four games and 12 goals in 12 games against Pittsburgh. He leads Anaheim with eight goals.

Stewart put the Ducks up 2-0 at 15:49 in the second when he finished off a nice drop pass from Mike Santorelli.

"That was a goal scorer's goal," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "To chip when it's coming and you're skating directly at the puck, that's a very difficult thing to do."

The Penguins had an opportunity to tie in the waning minutes of the game with a 6-on-4 power play. Kevin Bieksa was sent to the box for slashing at 18:40 and David Perron had an open tip-in opportunity in the low slot, but Gibson made the save to aid the NHL's top-ranked penalty kill.

"It was tough both ways to get scoring chances," Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. "You could see it was that type of game from the beginning with the low shots, low scoring chances, but we had a few right at the end too. You just have to capitalize on the chances we get in games like that, and I thought they capitalized and we didn't."

It was the first time this season the Penguins lost after ending the first period with a lead. Pittsburgh was 7-0-0 when leading after 20 minutes.

Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy said he's seen a troubling trend in shaky starts as of late.

"I think we need to find ways to be more consistent," Lovejoy said. "I think there have been a couple of nights where we have really struggled with our starts and that has put us behind right away. Tonight we played a good Ducks team and we couldn't figure out a way to solve John Gibson more than once."

Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel have given Anaheim problems in the past, but Malkin and Kessel were held off the score sheet Sunday. Crosby had the primary assist on Maatta's goal.

"That was great," Perry said. "Our guys did a great job containing their two big men over there. When you can do that, you're going to be successful on a lot of nights."

After missing five games because of the flu, Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen returned to back up Gibson.

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