Final Score: Ducks 2, Penguins 3 SHOOTOUT
Scratches: Tim Jackman and Mark Fistric
First Period Recap: Daniel Winnik, Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano were the starting forwards for the Ducks. Pittsburgh started with Sidney Crosby, Lee Stempniak and Chris Kunitz. Jonas Hiller and Marc-Andre Fleury were in net for the game. The Ducks came out fast and forced the Penguins back with an aggressive forecheck. An early delayed penalty call against Kunitz for slashing Corey Perry put the Ducks on the power play.
Fleury made a big stop on Nick Bonino on the delayed call. The Ducks took a while to get their power play together. The best chance came from Perry just inside the left circle that was blocked in front by Brooks Orpik. Pittsburgh's No. 2 penalty kill worked, but that didn't stop the Ducks from pressuring. Back at even strength, Getzlaf took a shot on Fleury that slid to Perry for a pretty goal.
Pittsburgh looked like it woke up after that goal. Orpik took a huge run at Rickard Rakell, which drew attention from Matt Beleskey. The Ducks were shooting at will and Bryan Allen landed a huge blast right on Fleury. Maroon carried the puck in front and it slid right through everyone in front of the net. On a neutral zone turnover, Deryk Engelland scored on the first Penguin shot that went straight through Hiller.
Hampus Lindholm and Koivu were screening Hiller on the play. A shift after the goal, Maroon and Tanner Glass got in a fight that lasted for a while until both players got tired. The two weren't the only ones mixing it up as Perry and Evgeni Malkin got tied up at the side of the Pittsburgh net. A long shift for Pittsburgh in the Ducks' end looked super dangerous. Winnik finally broke up a pass and got the puck. He made a nice pass to Getzlaf who fired a shot that was stopped by Fleury.
Beauchemin took the first Ducks penalty for tripping Malkin behind the Ducks' net. Koivu and Bonino broke up passes on the penalty kill, but neither could reach Fleury for attempt on net. The Ducks escaped Pittsburgh's No. 1 power play with a nice kill. It didn't take long for Allen to get called for a hook on Joe Vitale. Vitale, however, received an embellishment penalty. Four-on-four hockey was pretty boring as both teams were ultra conservative.
Cogliano limped to bench after taking a hit to the head as he fell to the ice. Silfverberg took his place with Winnik and Koivu. Perry, Getzlaf and Palmieri drove the net and Getzlaf got hooked while walking out to take a shot. The Ducks went on another power play. Bonino and Beauchemin each broke sticks while Fowler and Getzlaf took shots that were blocked on the power play. The Penguins killed the penalty and the period ended in a 1-1 tie.
I didn't see the play, but at some point in the middle of the first period Sbisa was injured and went to the locker room. He did not return to the game.
Second Period Recap: A penalty on Stempniak for tripping Koivu put Ducks on the power play just 17 seconds in. Bonino got to a rebound off Fleury but missed the net completely. Selanne had a shot blocked by Fleury in close. Aside from the two chances, the power play was horrible. Pittsburgh killed the rest of the power play, making it 0-3 on the night so far. Cogliano was back on the ice after the power play and looked fine.
Fleury got a whistle when he never had the puck covered. The puck slid out in front and trickled into the net, but the whistle blew well before. Lots of battles in both ends comprised most of the period. A 3-on-1 for the Ducks with Maroon, Silfverberg and Bonino was stopped by Fleury. There were too many passes and Maroon took the shot off the end of his stick.
Hiller hadn't had to do much and it might have be throwing him off a bit. There were only four shots on net about halfway through the second for the Penguins. Winnik, Rakell and Silfverberg stood out in the first half of the game. All three were making great plays with the puck.
Hiller made his best save of the night on James Neal and on the next shift Neal hit the crossbar in transition. Silfverberg was driving the center of the ice and took a shot that was stopped by Fleury. Beauchemin took a penalty late in the period for hooking Neal and he was mad because Neal clamped down on the stick to draw the call. A huge save by Hiller sliding from post to post on Malkin kept the game tied at one. The Ducks killed power play and the final seconds of period wound down. The period ended in a 1-1 tie. The shot advantage was 23-7 in favor of Anaheim.
Third Period Recap: Just over a minute into the period Perry scored his second goal of the game as Getzlaf drove the net and made a nice little drop pass to his twin right at the top of the crease.
A strong forecheck from Pamieri drove that puck to the front of the net. Sustained pressure from the Ducks after the goal didn't allow the Penguins any chances. A Winnik pass to Bonino on a 2-on-1 failed as Bonino fell trying to shoot the puck quickly, this was the second time Bones straight up whiffed on a shot that would have been a grand scoring opportunity. Really good defensive plays kept the Penguins out of the Ducks end.
Palmieri was called for a weak tripping penalty, and wouldn't you know it, Malkin scored from the slot with Kunitz screening Hiller.
Hiller made a point blank save. Rakell was pulled down with no call. I stopped writing because it was too stressful.
Tied 2-2 Ducks and Penguins go to overtime.
OT recap: Hiller stopped Crosby on a breakaway. Lindholm and Getzlaf were stopped point blank by Fleury. I couldn't breathe.
Neal – save Hiller. 0-0.
Bonino – save Fleury. 0-0.
Crosby – goal. 1-0 PIT.
Palmieri – save Fleury. 1-0 PIT.
Malkin – save Hiller. 1-0 PIT.
Perry – goal. 1-1 tie.
Jokinen – save Hiller. 1-1 tie.
Silfverberg – save Fleury. 1-1 tie.
Kunitz – goal. 2-1 PIT.
Selanne – goal. 2-2 tie.
Sutter – goal. 3-2 PIT.
Getzlaf – miss.
Pittsburgh wins in a shootout 3-2
The Good: This was a total team effort. Everyone played their best and held Pittsburgh in their own end. Getzlaf and Perry were the best players on the ice and at times couldn't be stopped. Sidney Crosby was held to one shot on goal too.
The Bad: Despite holding the Penguins to 17 shots on goal, Pittsburgh still won the game and had almost as many quality scoring chances as the Ducks. A late, and rather weak, penalty against Palmieri ended up costing the Ducks their lead in the third period. The Ducks failed to stay out of the box enough in this game.
The Ugly: The Ducks' special teams. The power play didn't score on three chances. Pittsburgh had three chances and was able to tie the game with it. The Ducks need to get their power play together, because in the end it could have put this game away. There were way too many missed chances in front of Fleury too.
Icehole of the Game: Anyone who praised Crosby in this game. It was sickening to listen to. I'm glad we only have to hear about him twice a year. If he had scored the game winner on the breakaway I probably would have died.
Next Game: Monday, March 10; 7:00 p.m. at home against Toronto