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Pens fall 2-1 in Anaheim

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Game recap, goal highlights and commentary on the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins wrapped up a week in California with a

The Goals

Olli Maatta scored his 4th goal of the season early in the game with a well placed shot through traffic that eluded John Gibson. Crafty and smart goal by a crafty and smart player.

The Ducks appeared to tie it up, but wait, they were barely off-sides like 20 seconds earlier in a sequence that had nothing to do with the eventual goal scored. Dumb rule, but it helps the Pens here.

Anaheim would get it back though 36 seconds into the 2nd period. With Evgeni Malkin and Ryan Kesler getting matching penalties, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry combined to take advantage of the extra ice space and some miscommunication with David Warsofsky and the Pens defense.

The Ducks took a 2-1 lead that would hold for the rest of the game later in the second when they blew by Rob Scuderi about 3 seconds before the GIF below picks up.

Some thoughts

  • Perry's a good shooter but I bet Marc-Andre Fleury would want that first goal back. It hit him and ramped up in the net. On a second night of back-to-backs, the Pens chose to play Fleury in both.
  • Two games ago we talked about the good puck luck the Pens were getting. Tonight, not so much early. Sidney Crosby hit a cross-bar in the first period, as did Ian Cole in the second. Beau Bennett a post in the second. Eric Fehr had a chip shot at an open net and chunked it wide. The Pens also missed the net on shots 21 times. They made up for it by blocking 22 Anaheim shots.
  • The Pens made an effort to have the Maatta/Warsofsky pairing with the Crosby line tonight, and it seemed to work well. We'll see how the numbers shake out in Darnay's analytics recap tonight, but it looked like the first line with 2 puck-moving defenseman (and no Pascal Dupuis) was functioning better to keep Crosby out of the d-zone more.
  • Pretty good night in the eye-test for Cole. He was all over the ice, making smart plays in his own end, using his legs to skate the puck, making good passes. He also blocked 4 shots.
  • Thumbs up to Anaheim using the old Mighty Ducks logo. Thumbs down to that awful shade of orange as the sweater color.
  • The Pens didn't score on their first power play on the night but they did have 4 shots on goal, including a couple by Crosby. The puck movement was very sharp and Warsofsky didn't look out of place with the big boys.
  • Very free-flowing game in the sense that there were several stretches of play with minutes upon minutes between whistles. For a Bruce Boudreau coached team, the Ducks really backed off the gas in the 3rd period and tried to nurse their one-goal lead with not much of a forecheck going on. But hey, it worked, so what can you say.
  • Three headed monster alert for a shift with 3:30 left with Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel for an offensive zone draw following a TV timeout. Crosby lost the draw and the Pens never really got control of the puck again, to go out with a whimper.
  • Interesting 6v5 alignment. Crosby, Malkin, Kessel (of course) joined by David Perron, Chris Kunitz and...Warsofsky. Kessel fed Malkin for what could have been the game-tying goal until he got slashed and the 6v4 PP couldn't find paydirt.

The Pens head to Colorado for the last game of this road-trip on Wednesday.