ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Anaheim Ducks won consecutive games against the two players who shared the goal-scoring title last season, Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby. That should give them and goalie Jonas Hiller the confidence to face anyone.
Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf and Saku Koivu scored during a 6:51 span of the second period to break open a scoreless game, and the Ducks overcame two goals by Crosby to beat the Penguins 3-2 on Friday night.
Lubomir Visnovsky had two assists and Hiller made 30 saves, helping Anaheim record consecutive victories for the first time this season.
“That’s the type of game that can make the little hair coaches have turn grey,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “But we found a way to win, and that’s the bottom line. It’s two points. Hopefully it’s a stepping stone, and we can get some confidence and build on it. We haven’t been enamoured with positives this year, and rightfully so. We want this building to be a tough building for an opposing team to come into and play.”
Marc-Andre Fleury made 16 saves for Pittsburgh in the only meeting of the season between the teams. Fleury is 1-6, while backup Brent Johnson is 5-1-1 with a 1.70 GAA.
Crosby’s goals were his first in five career games against Anaheim. He sat out Thursday’s practice because of a bruised right hand, the result of a fight with Dallas’ Matt Niskanen.
“We gave ourselves a chance tonight,” Crosby said. “I think both teams wanted to play a physical game. I think that was just the nature of the game. Our efforts need to be like that. We need to be consistent.”
During a hard-hitting first period in which Pittsburgh defencemen Kris Letang and Brooks Orpik hit the post about three minutes apart with screened wrist shots, Anaheim’s best scoring chance came about 4½ minutes before the intermission. Letang attempted an outlet pass from behind his own net and put it right onto the stick of Ryan, who had Fleury at his mercy in the slot and missed wide right with a 15-foot wrist shot.
Ryan eventually opened the scoring at 7:35 of the second with a 40-foot wrist shot that beat Fleury to the stick side. Getzlaf, whose overtime goal gave the Ducks a 3-2 win over the Lightning on Wednesday, made it 2-0 at 12:22 of the period with his sixth of the season.
“The game wasn’t pretty by any means, and at times we gave them a lot of momentum. But Jonas kept us in it with some big saves and the guys played well in front of him,” Ryan said. “Hopefully we’ve found our stride and we can go from here. The season’s going to ebb and flow, no matter which way you look at it. And to beat two pretty dynamic teams is a huge high for us.”
Ryan also got an assist on Getzlaf’s goal, giving the Ducks’ top line 17 goals and 44 points in the last 11 games. The trio did not have a point in the first three games of the season.
Koivu scored about two minutes later, converting a rebound of Visnovsky’s wrist shot. Selanne, playing in his 1,200th game, also was credited with an assist that gave him 1,275 career points and moved him past Al MacInnis into sole possession of 33rd place.
Crosby, whose career-high 51 goals last season gave him a share of the Rocket Richard Trophy, snapped a five-game drought after Hiller stopped Pittsburgh’s first 16 shots on net. The power-play goal came at 17:27 of the period, on a tip-in of Letang’s shot from the top of the left circle while Selanne was off for holding Evgeni Malkin.
“I think we gave them too many power plays,” Hiller said after the Ducks killed off three of four short-handed situations. “They have a good offensive team and if you give those guys too many opportunities, they’re going to score sooner or later.”
The goal ended Pittsburgh’s 0-for-29 drought on the power play going back to Crosby’s goal Oct. 18 against Ottawa. The Penguins’ captain added his eighth of the season with 16:12 left in the third period after Visnovsky tried to clear a rebound of Pascal Dupuis’ shot and inadvertently hit a teammate with the puck.
“Crosby’s going to find a way to get on the board most nights, anyway, and we gave him an easy one there in the third,” Ryan said. “It was tough, but they’ve got some other dynamic players, too. And if you can push them to the outside a little bit and keep them at bay, it’s a huge thing for us.”
Hiller has allowed just two goals in each of his last six starts after struggling through his first five starts with a 4.06 goals-against average.
“He’s been exceptional,” Carlyle said. “We’ve hung him out to dry in a few situations, but I still think there are a few situations where Jonas can help himself. One is to get out and stop some pucks on dump-ins and rims. That’s not one of his strengths. And maybe some of the rebounds he can direct more into the corner than back in front.”
NOTES: Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato is looking forward to Monday when sister Cammi, the captain of the 1998 U.S. team that won the first woman’s gold medal in Olympic history, will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in a group that includes Dino Ciccarelli and Detroit executive Jim Devellano. … The only teams Crosby hasn’t scored against are Chicago, Edmonton, St. Louis and San Jose. … Dupuis played in his 600th NHL game after missing the loss at Dallas to be with wife Carole-Lyne for the birth of daughter Lola.