The Ducks have reached an odd point in their quest for the playoffs: the rest of the road trip, the Ducks will be facing Eastern Conference teams until coming back home.
The positive of this is that IF they were to not earn a point in a game, they're not giving a point to someone ahead of them in the standings. The negative point is that when they earn points, they aren't taking away points from someone ahead of them. Obviously, if the Ducks have any tiny hope of making the playoffs, they have to earn points every single game, regardless of who they are playing.
I really hate scoreboard watching, but it has come to that. Currently the Ducks are in 13th place with 55 points, three points behind 11th place Minnesota, and eight points behind 8th place Phoenix. The Ducks need a perfect storm of events while making the East Coast swing to put them in the best position possible when they get home.
Pittsburgh is going to be tough. The Penguins may be 5th in the East, but don't let them fool you. They always play the Ducks well while at home. They have the 6th best power play (without Sid!) and the 3rd best penalty kill. Duck Hunter Sidney Crosby isn't going to be there, but unbelievably hot (in a hockey sense) Evgeni Malkin will be. He's a lot like Ryan Getzlaf. When he tries, he is unstoppable, but does have a tendency to take some plays off. Also like Getzlaf, he's better when he throws the body around. Geno will probably go head to head with Getz and it will be interesting to see if Getzy raises his game to meet the challenge.
One thing that the Ducks have going for them is Bruce Boudreau. He has faced Pittsburgh a billion times. The Ducks will be tired in this back to back, but they will be prepared. I have a feeling Jonas Hiller will be going again because the Ducks need points and if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Should be a fun, typical Ducks game (constant near-heart attacks the entire time). Enjoy!