Missing four of its top six defensemen, the Pittsburgh Penguins won their second straight game Monday night beating the Anaheim Ducks 5-2.
Matt Cooke scored two goals and Bill Guerin ended Pittsburgh’s eight game streak without a power-play goal, scoring a power play goal at 5:13 of the first period.
Jordan Staal and Martin Skoula also added goals for Pittsburgh. Skoula’s third period tally was his 1st goal in a Penguins uniform. Marc Andre Fleury made 23 saves to record his 11th win of the season.
Pittsburgh controlled the play early and often as the woes continue for the Anaheim Ducks who have lost 10 of 13 games.
Anaheim came into the season with expectations of contending for a Stanley Cup but it’s been a struggle for the Ducks. They have the look of a team that doesn’t have a direction.
The Ducks no longer have a punishing blueline and personnel wise, they’re more of a skilled team that lacks toughness compared to years past and they just haven’t figured it out.
For Pittsburgh, they notched their 14th win of the season and concluded their three game homestand with 2 of 3 wins.
Evgeni Malkin had a quiet night, but Pittsburgh has scored 11 goals in two games since Malkin has returned to the lineup after missing seven games with a shoulder strain.
The return of Malkin has provided the Penguins a much needed spark offensively.
With over 20% of their lineup sidelined, the Penguins were dealt with even more injury news today.
Alex Goligoski will be sidelined for at least 3-4 weeks with what is beleived to be a knee injury. Goligoski had an MRI today and is third on the team with 14 points. The full-extent of his injury won’t be known until tomorrow.
With four of its top 6 defenseman sidelined, head coach Dan Bylsma has leaned heavily
on defenseman Mark Eaton who had just over 27 minutes of ice time tonight. Pittsburgh dressed 3 AHL defensemen and will do so again Thursday night in Ottawa.
Pittsburgh defensive depth has been getting so thin, that a team official joked around to me this morning, that Ray Shero is getting to the point where he is about to place a call to Philippe Boucher and lure him out of retirement.
Deryk Engelland was named the games #3 star and recorded his first NHL assist. Engelland has slowly performed better over the past two games.
Pittsburgh will get a much needed day off on Tuesday. The team is not scheduled to skate. There are no new injuries to report but Jay McKee was a little banged up after the game. Nothing to really worry about but he could be limited on Wednesday.