Ducks-Penguins Preview

Some of the NHL’s most dangerous skaters will be on the ice
Monday night in Pittsburgh in Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey
Perry.

Evgeni Malkin may be part of that group, but he hasn’t been much
of a threat to score lately.

Malkin is mired in a career-worst 13-game goalless stretch for
the Penguins heading into this matchup with the Anaheim Ducks.

There is some serious firepower in this interconference contest.
Crosby has 25 points and Getzlaf and Perry each have 23 to rank
among the NHL leaders.

Malkin is second on Pittsburgh (12-8-0) with 18 points, yet only
three have been goals – the last coming Oct. 17.

Part of the problem may be he has mustered 19 shots in his last
11 games, and he may have been one of the players coach Dan Bylsma
was referring to as not shooting enough in Saturday’s 4-1 loss at
New Jersey.

“You have to look at other things than just the puck going in
the net to see if there is cause for concern and if you’re getting
opportunities,” Bylsma said. “I think tonight for us the situation
we had about three or four good chances in the second period, we
didn’t shoot the puck. We passed a lot of those opportunities and
they were good people with good opportunities to shoot the puck and
we didn’t take them.”

Crosby is also part of the problem with one goal in his last 10
games. He had three shots against the Devils, while Malkin
registered two.

“At the end of the day, you gotta score and if you’re getting
chances, I don’t know what you change,” Crosby said. “You try to go
to the net just as much, you try to work on those little
things.”

The Penguins have scored exactly one goal in every defeat of
this 1-4-0 stretch.

Pittsburgh’s downturn after a strong start to the season mirrors
the recent play of Anaheim (15-5-2), which is 0-2-1 entering the
finale of this four-game trip.

The Ducks felt their play was better in Friday’s 3-2 shootout
loss to Carolina. They have outshot every opponent on this
trip.

“I think we played pretty well tonight,” veteran winger Teemu
Selanne said. “The last two games, we haven’t been at the level
where we should be, so we’re going in the right direction.”

One reason for the improved play could be Getzlaf’s return to
the lineup after he missed three games with an upper-body injury.
He recorded an assist to give him seven points in three games.

Perry had a goal and an assist after he was held without point
in the first two games of the trip.

Special teams continue to plague the Ducks. They are at 11.7
percent on the power play, including a league-worst 6.5 percent on
the road, and their penalty kill has also fared poorly at 75.4
percent.

Saku Koivu, Matt Beleskey and Mathieu Perreault all returned to
practice Sunday. Koivu missed 10 games with a concussion, Beleskey
hasn’t played since Oct. 5 with a broken thumb and Perreault sat
out Friday with the flu.

Crosby will face the Ducks for the first time in three seasons.
Anaheim won the last meeting 2-1 two seasons ago when he was
injured.