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Sunday, October 7, 2007

Ducks lose to Penguins 5-4

Well the Ducks are now 1-3-1. They looked a lot better so I am happy about that. This so reminds me of January when we were short multiple critical players. Currently we are without the services of Schneider, Pahlson and Giguere. I think the whole team will turn around shortly after they return and get into the groove. Well, till then here is the game coverage.

Photo of the Game

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Game Reports

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TSN Video - Link

AP Coverage of the game

With so many scorers, the Pittsburgh Penguins are capable of putting up a lot of goals in a short time. The dead-tired Ducks found that out - twice - as they ended a two-continent, two-week road trip.

Petr Sykora scored twice and had an assist in his Pittsburgh home debut and the Penguins twice scored goals only seconds apart in a 5-4 victory over road-weary Stanley Cup champion Anaheim on Saturday night.

Sykora, a longtime Penguins antagonist while with New Jersey, put Pittsburgh up 4-3 by putting in a rebound of Georges Laraque's shot in front at 13:32 of third. After the ensuing faceoff, Sidney Crosby - getting his first point in two games - beat defenseman Chris Pronger to the puck and found Ryan Malone in the slot for Pittsburgh's second goal in 19 seconds.

"I couldn't ask for a better start at home," said Sykora, who signed with the youthful Penguins to give them an experienced, Cup-winning scoring threat. "Georges made a great play, he crashed the net and really opened it up for me."

The Penguins, the NHL's third highest-scoring team last season, scored only 20 seconds apart in the second period as Colby Armstrong and Evgeni Malkin each beat goalie Jonas Hiller to make it 3-2. Malkin had a goal and an assist and Gary Roberts had two assists.

"Everyone was motivated to play these guys," Crosby said as the Penguins followed up a season-opening, 4-1 loss at Carolina on Friday. "They're the champions, and we were all up for this game, playing Anaheim and it's the home opener."

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LA Times coverage of the game

No other group of players could be more relieved to head home than the Ducks.
The airplane ride back to Southern California won't be all that joyous, thanks to the Pittsburgh Penguins dealing a 5-4 setback Saturday night that left the Ducks with just one win on their five-game trip to open the season. But the Ducks could at least take solace in finally waving goodbye to a 13-day, 10,000-mile-plus odyssey that began in London. Captain Chris Pronger said all he planned to do on the way home was sleep.

"I think we're too tired to be angry," Pronger said. "It'll just be nice to get back home."
Petr Sykora haunted his former team with two goals and an assist, including a third-period score with 6:28 remaining to break a 3-3 tie before a Mellon Arena crowd of 17,132 in the Penguins' home opener.
Ryan Malone tallied 19 seconds later for a two-goal lead, an advantage they would need as Corey Perry scored with 21.4 seconds left. The Ducks called time out and pulled goalie Jonas Hiller for the extra attacker but could not manage a decent opportunity against Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury.
Hiller made 24 saves in his first start since winning his NHL debut against the Kings. Fleury stopped 19 shots.
It wasn't the way the Ducks (1-3-1) would envision starting their defense of the Stanley Cup, but they also didn't anticipate being without several key performers, notably Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Samuel Pahlsson and Mathieu Schneider, who are all injured.
Giguere and Pahlsson are recovering slowly from sports hernia surgery late in the off-season, and Schneider continued to be sidelined with a broken left ankle suffered during the preseason.
"We feel we'll get better when we get our group together," Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said.

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OC Register coverage of the game

If there is a payoff from this unprecedented season-opening, five-game Ducks trip, it will come later. It is certainly not evident now.

The Ducks jetted home late Saturday night with merely three points in the cargo hold after a 5-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena. When they take the Honda Center ice for Wednesday's home opener against the Boston Bruins after having raised banners to commemorate last season's glory, the Ducks will own an ugly 1-3-1 record that hardly befits a defending Stanley Cup championship team.

Coach Randy Carlyle used the term "starting point" to describe a third consecutive Ducks loss that followed a season-opening split of two games against the Kings in London during the NHL's first regular-season venture to Europe.

"We did a lot of the good things that we're going to have to continue to get better at," Carlyle said. "We have to take the positives as far as our work ethic. We made some individual mistakes that we have to correct. We just have to play a better brand of hockey as a group."

The most egregious Ducks errors were allowing the Penguins (1-1) to twice score two goals in a span of 20 seconds or less. Colby Armstrong and Evgeni Malkin struck 20 seconds apart to erase a 2-1 Ducks lead early in the second period, and former Ducks winger Petr Sykora and Ryan Malone snapped a 3-3 tie with goals 19 seconds apart just past the midway point of the third period.

"We showed moments of getting back to the way we play, and moments of not," Ducks captain Chris Pronger said. "We made a few mistakes, and it was in our net. It's a fine line in this game between winning and losing.

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MVN Analysis

The Ducks were coming off a horrible effort against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Scratch that. There really wasn’t much effort at all against the Blue Jackets. All that was missing last night was the “hit me” sign on their backs as they rolled over and let the Blue Jackets have their way with them. Time to get it in gear and suck up the last bits of energy for the final game of a long road trip that began in Europe on September 25.

Pittsburgh themselves were coming off a loss to the Hurricanes and Sidney Crosby finished that game with a -1 rating and nothing on the score sheet. Both teams clearly had something to prove to themselves and to the hockey world. Marc-Andre Fleury, who was chased from goal last night, got a second chance to redeem himself. On the other end of the rink, unflappable Swiss goalie, Jonas Hiller took charge of the net for the Ducks. Ilya Bryzgalov had earned the night off after two very good performances.

With Bobby Ryan down in Portland and Travis Moen being held out for precautionary reasons after the nasty hit he suffered yesterday, newly recalled Jason King and Drew Miller were inserted into the line up. Miller played alongside Todd Marchant and Rob Niedermayer on the checking line. King played with Todd Bertuzzi and Andy McDonald on the top line. King had a very good training camp and has done well in Portland, including scoring two goals in last night’s AHL game. King played with Bertuzzi in Vancouver and coach Randy Carlyle feels that King has very good hands and can come out of nowhere and score. Other changes to the line-up included the addition of Maxime Kondratiev on the blue line in place of Joe DiPenta. This was Kondratiev’s first regular season game with the Ducks. Mark Mowers returned to the line-up as well after sitting out the Columbus game, while George Parros sat.

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Pittsburgh Post Gazette coverage of the game

Ryan Malone didn't think his goal would be the game-winner.

And he certainly didn't want it to be.

But he wasn't entirely surprised when it proved to be the difference in the Penguins' 5-4 victory over Anaheim in the home-opener at Mellon Arena last night.

"We always make it exciting," Malone said, smiling. "We have to quit doing that."

But it wasn't only the Penguins who added suspense to the outcome. Anaheim, despite being at the end of a punishing road trip that included five games on two continents, competed on every shift, battled hard for every loose puck.

Showed why it was able to win the Stanley Cup this spring.

"They're never going to let down," Malone said. "That's what makes them the Stanley Cup champions."

The Penguins, it should be noted, flashed some pretty fair intangibles, too. Their effort was far more impressive than the one they put forth during a 4-1 loss at Carolina the previous night.

"It was a character check tonight," Malone said. "I thought everyone showed a lot of pride and bounced back."

While Malone's goal provided the margin of victory, Petr Sykora was the Penguins' most productive forward, scoring two goals and setting up another.

"I couldn't really hope for a better start," he said.

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