Stewart’s go-ahead goal helps Ducks beat Penguins 2-1
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Anaheim Ducks knew their chances of beating the high-powered Pittsburgh Penguins would be greatly enhanced by keeping Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in check on the defensive end, rather than trying to match them in the offensive zone.
Chris Stewart had the go-ahead goal in the second period, Corey Perry also scored and the Ducks overcame a disallowed goal to beat the Penguins 2-1 on Sunday night.
“We were just limiting them to time and space,” Anaheim center Ryan Kesler said. “We were staying on them and trying to frustrate them, and we really didn’t give them anything.
“We have to be a team that’s in your face and hard to play against every night. That’s how we’re successful,” he added. “We’re not a team that generates off the rush, but a team that grinds teams down.”
Crosby was held to one assist and Malkin was kept off the scoresheet entirely. John Gibson made 23 saves in his sixth straight start, a stretch that included shutouts against Vancouver and San Jose.
“They’re a good team, and you see the offense they have, so you know they’re going to come and get chances,” Gibson said. “You’ve just got to weather the storm the best you can.”
Malkin nearly got the tying goal, but misfired on a backhander from the edge of the crease with 1:22 remaining after faking Gibson to the ice with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury pulled for an extra skater.
“I don’t know if I got the puck or his stick or his skate. But whatever, it didn’t go in the net and that’s all that matters,” Gibson said.
The Ducks are 10-5-2 after a 1-7-2 start. The three-time defending Pacific Division champions, coming off a 1-0 victory Friday against the Sharks, have won consecutive games for the first time since beating San Jose by the same score Nov. 7 for their fourth straight win.
Olli Maatta scored for Pittsburgh, and Fleury stopped 23 shots. The Penguins are 5-5-2 following a 9-1 stretch.
Stewart put the Ducks ahead at 15:49 of the second after Nate Thompson set him up in the slot. On Friday, Thompson set up the winning goal by Mike Santorelli.
The Penguins, who had only one shot on net through the first 17 minutes of their 5-3 loss to the Kings on Saturday afternoon, opened the scoring at 3:02 of the first period with their second shot.
Maatta beat Gibson with a 30-foot wrist shot. It was his fourth goal of the season and second in two games, after missing the previous six with an upper-body injury.
The Ducks appeared to tie it at 7:30 of the first on a shot by Rickard Rakell during a power play while Sergei Plotnikov was off for goalie interference. But Penguins coach Mike Johnston initiated a replay challenge, claiming the play was offside, and was proven right.
Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen failed to keep the puck in the zone along the right boards on an attempted clearing pass by Rob Scuderi, as Matt Cullen came out to check Vatanen at the blue line. The goal was disallowed, and the extra 22 seconds of elapsed time was put back on the scoreboard clock.
“Yeah, I thought it was out. I mean, you could see on the replay that I put my arm up and I was right on top of it,” Cullen said.
“The puck kind of changed directions and I saw a little bit of white between the puck and the blue line. But that’s an extremely tough call for the linesman from across the ice, and that’s what the replay is for.”
The Ducks eventually tied it 36 seconds into the second period with the teams skating 4-on-4, the result of coincidental roughing penalties to Malkin and Kesler following the first-period horn.
Perry got the puck from Ryan Getzlaf in the slot and beat Fleury from short range. Perry has 10 goals this season, nine in the last 16 games since Getzlaf returned from an appendectomy that sidelined him for four games.
NOTES: Cullen is one of four players on the Penguins’ roster who used to play for the Ducks, including Chris Kunitz, Ben Lovejoy and Nick Bonino. ... Ducks D Simon Despres, acquired last March in a trade that sent Lovejoy to Pittsburgh, missed his 24th straight game because of concussion symptoms that began when he was hit by Colorado’s Tyson Barrie on Oct. 16. ... Gibson, who was born in Pittsburgh, lost 6-4 in his only other start against the Penguins on Oct. 9, 2014, in the Steel City.