Ducks Gameday: Long trip ends with visit to two-time Stanley Cup champs
PITTSBURGH – Fresh off their first overtime win in a back-and-forth triumph over the New York Islanders, the Ducks finish off their lengthy road trip with a visit to PPG Paints Arena to face the two-time Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
Hampus Lindholm played a big role in the Ducks (15-13-8) capturing their second win among their five previous stops by getting his first career hat trick. His third goal came in overtime for their first triumph after his team’s failure to score in 10 others, with eight losses either in overtime or the shootout.
The Ducks went through a full practice Friday but opted not to skate in saving their energy up for their final game before the Christmas holiday break. Ryan Kesler was one of those that worked out but his return from hip surgery still isn’t expected to come until the beginning of 2018.
John Gibson (10-11-4, 2.88 GAA, .920 SV%) will try to get his first win in three attempts at victory in his hometown. It has been a rough go as his two prior efforts have been six goals allowed in each defeat.
In fact, the Ducks haven’t won in Pittsburgh since 2012 where goals by Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne backed Jonas Hiller’s 25-save effort in a 2-1 win to outduel Marc-Andre Fleury. But that doesn’t sway the view of Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan that they’re a threat.
“They’re a good team,” Sullivan said. “They’ve got very strong center icemen. They’ve got an element of team speed to their game with players like [Andrew] Cogliano and [Jakob] Silfverberg.
“Their power play hasn’t been as dynamic but certainly they’re as dangerous a power play as there is in the league with the people that they have. I think an element of discipline is going to be important […]