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Penguins vs. Ducks Game Preview

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins

Home: 2-4-0-4
Road: 4-2-1-9

WHEN: Nov. 5, 2010 - 10:00 pm   |   WHERE: Honda Center
FSN  |  LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM
Anaheim Ducks
Home: 3-1-1-7

  Pittsburgh Penguins at Anaheim Ducks 
Teemu Selanne
F  -  #8
  6 Goals
  8 Assists
  14 Points
• The 40-year-old sniper is showing no signs of slowing down, leading the Ducks with a team-best six goals through 13 games.
• Still dangerous on the man-advantage, he is tied for the league-lead with four power-play tallies. Over the past two seasons, 30 of his 54 goals have come on the man-advantage.
• Scored his 611th career goal on Oct. 26 at Dallas to surpass Bobby Hull and move into 15th place on the all-time goals list.
Lubomir Visnovsky
D  -  #17
  1 Goal
  9 Assists
  10 Points
• Veteran, offensive-minded blueliner was acquired at last season’s trading deadline from Edmonton in exchange for former Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney.
• Scored 15 goals from the back end last season, the third time in four seasons that he reached double digits in goals.
• Leads the Ducks and ranks fifth in the NHL with an average ice time of 25:49 minutes per game.
Cam Fowler
D  -  #54
  1 Goal 
  2 Assists
  3 Points
• The 12th-overall selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft is one of five first-round picks from this year’s class to spend the entire season in the NHL.
• Anaheim hasn’t been shy about playing its prized rookie, as he ranks fifth among first-year players with an average ice time of 20:46 minutes per game.
• Spent last season with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League and the two season before that with the United States National Team Development Program.
The Penguins continue their four-game road swing on Friday night by taking on the struggling Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center. Despite a 3-2 shootout victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, Anaheim currently resides in last place in the Pacific Division with a 5-7-1 record.

One reason for Anaheim’s sub-.500 record has been an inability to keep pucks out of their own net. The Ducks have surrendered an average of 3.31 goals per game, the fifth-highest (tied) figure in the league. Not only are the Ducks giving up a lot of goals, they are allowing their opposition an average of 38.4 shots per game, the highest total in the NHL.

Facing all of those shots on a nightly basis is making life tough on Anaheim netminder Jonas Hiller, who is actually holding up quite well to all the rubber he is facing, as he has posted a solid .918 save percentage despite the heavy workload.

Anaheim has been able to hover around the .500 mark in spite of their struggles defensively because of a talented group of forwards anchored by still-developing stars Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan.

Getzlaf, 25, is actually tied for second in the NHL scoring race with 16 points (5G-11A) through 13 contests. The 6-foot-4 specimen has scored 58 or more points in each of the past four seasons.

Perry, who like Getzlaf is a tough customer in addition to being able to put plenty of pucks in the net, has five goals thus far, and is coming off a three-year run which has seen him light the lamp 88 times.

Ryan, the No. 2-overall NHL Entry Draft selection in 2005 behind Sidney Crosby, took the longer route to stardom than Crosby did, but back-to-back seasons of 31 and 35 goals and a strong showing with Team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games has established him as one of the league’s premier goal scorers.
  • Anaheim is another team the Penguins have had great success against in recent years, going 4-0-1 in five games against the Ducks since the lockout. Dating back to the 2003-04 campaign, the Penguins are 5-0-1 in their last six contests against Anaheim. Last season the Penguins swept the Ducks, defeating them 4-3 in Anaheim on Nov. 3 and 5-2 at Mellon Arena on Nov. 16.
  • As Anaheim head coach Randy Carlyle prepares his game plan for Friday night, he might want to make sure his team has Matt Cooke accounted for. In 31 career games against the Ducks, Cooke has scored nine goals and 15 points. His nine goals are tied for his most against any one opponent. Last season Cooke led the Penguins with three points (2G-1A) in two games against Anaheim. He has had two-goal performances against the Ducks in two of his three appearances against them as a Penguin.
  • If Marc-Andre Fleury gets the call between the pipes for the Penguins on Friday night, he will have history working in his favor as he attempts to become the 7th-youngest goaltender in NHL history to reach 150 wins. Fleury is a perfect 4-0 in his career against Anaheim, including a 2-0 record last season when he stopped 49 of the 54 shots the Ducks threw his way.
  • Remember the days when the Penguins were always ranked among the lowest teams in the league on faceoffs? Thanks to Sidney Crosby’s continued dominance and Mark Letestu’s emergence, the Penguins enter Thursday night ranked ninth overall in the NHL with a 56.1 percent success rate on draws. Crosby ranks 14th overall with a 57.9 percent success rate, while Letestu ranks third among rookies at 50.7 percent.
  • Friday night will be a homecoming for Penguins left winger Chris Kunitz, who spent parts of five seasons with the Ducks before being traded to the Penguins in February 2009. Kunitz established career highs with 25 goals and 60 points for the Ducks in 2006-07 as he helped Anaheim claim the Stanley Cup.


Better Discipline: One way the Penguins can reverse the recent slide they find themselves on is to do a better job of staying out of the penalty box. During this 1-3-1 stretch, the Penguins have found themselves shorthanded a total of 27 times, or an average of 5.4 times per game. While they have killed off 25 of those chances, it’s the energy they are spending that is hurting them later in games.

Battle Level:
What is head coach Dan Bylsma most looking forward to seeing out of his team on Friday? An increased battle level. Byslma felt the Stars outworked the Penguins on Wednesday night, so the team spent Thursday working on drills to ensure that wouldn’t happen a second straight game. Look for the Penguins to come out flying against Anaheim.
C Jordan Staal, foot/broken right hand (up to 6 weeks)
C Kyle Chipchura, concussion (day-to-day)
LW Matt Beleskey, concussion (indefinitely)
RW Dan Sexton, broken nose (mid-November)
F Joffrey Lupul, blood infection (mid-November)
D Andy Sutton, broken right thumb (late November)
Crosby (6) Selanne (6)
Crosby (9) Getzlaf (11)
Crosby (15) Getzlaf (14)
Engelland (30) Three Tied (31)
Goligoski (+7) Lydman (+6)
Crosby (3) Selanne (4)
Cooke (2)
Johnson (5-1-1) Hiller (4-5-1)
Johnson (1.71) Hiller (2.99)
Johnson (.941) Hiller (.918)

Tyler Kennedy - Grinding forward Tyler Kennedy responded well to his promotion to the second line on Wednesday night in Dallas by scoring his second goal in three games and playing with the energy that allows him to get to his game. Kennedy also earned points with head coach Dan Bylsma by dropping the gloves with Jamie Benn in response to a questionable hit on Evgeni Malkin.
Ryan Getzlaf - The Penguins are going to have their hands full on Friday night attempting to contain Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf, who is currently riding a hot streak which has seen him post six points (2G-4A) over his past five games. Getzlaf ranks second (tied) in the NHL scoring race with 16 points (5G-11A).

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Author: Jason Seidling

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