PITTSBURGH – Bill Guerin still has some goals left in him at age 39. What’s surprising is he has a few left jabs and right hooks, too.
Guerin ended Pittsburgh’s eight-game streak without a power-play goal by scoring in the first period, Jordan Staal scored short-handed and the Penguins wrapped up Anaheim’s winless four-game road trip by beating the Ducks 5-2 on Monday night.
Guerin, playing in his 1,206th NHL game, fought in the third period with Ryan Getzlaf, who is 15 years younger, trading several punches before Guerin put the Ducks’ alternate captain on his back to earn one of the night’s loudest ovations from the sellout crowd of 17,052.
“He got the hard part of the Gordie Howe,” coach Dan Bylsma said. “The parts he got, it was great to see the edge from his game and the shot … one he’s put in numerous times in his career. When he’s at his best he’s playing with an edge, and you saw that.”
Guerin’s fifth goal came 5:13 into the first period and halted a streak of 30 consecutive unsuccessful Penguins power plays that began Oct. 30 in Columbus. With Pittsburgh ahead 1-0 on Matt Cooke’s backhander from a slot 91 seconds into the game, Guerin beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere on a one-timer from the top of the right circle, with Sidney Crosby assisting.
“We still definitely have some work (on the power play), but it was good to finally get one,” Guerin said.
Guerin has scored in successive games after going 11 in a row without a goal.
“I’m handling the ups and downs better as you get older,” he said. “When you’re younger, you feel like the world is crashing in on you because you haven’t scored in few games. You learn how to roll with it, as long as team’s winning.”
The Ducks aren’t. They looked weary and off their game early on, failing to get a shot until Pittsburgh led 2-0 and taking the game’s first three penalties. They were coming off a 7-4 loss in Detroit on Saturday in which they allowed five goals in the third period, and this one wasn’t much better.
Coach Randy Carlyle wasn’t happy, holding a team meeting shortly after the Ducks (6-10-3) left the ice.
“I’ve been on teams like this before and it’s never easy,” Todd Marchant said. “It’s almost seems like there’s never light at the end of the tunnel, but there is. There is time, time to turn this around. We have the personnel, we have the talent, we have the work ethic, we have the character in this room to do it.”
The Ducks also lost at New Jersey and Columbus (shootout) during their road trip and have dropped 10 of 13.
“We were playing some good teams, and the mistakes we made, we paid for in every game,” Scott Niedermayer said.
Marchant gave Anaheim a lift by scoring short-handed midway through the first period after Evgeni Malkin gave the puck away, but the Ducks couldn’t solve Marc-Andre Fleury again until Teemu Selanne scored his 10th late in the third.
Staal answered Marchant’s goal by taking Deryk Engelland’s lead pass and beating Giguere high to the sick side about 4 minutes into the second, his ninth career short-handed goal. Staal scored an NHL rookie-record seven short-handed goals in 2006-07, but had one in the two-plus seasons since – on Jan. 10 at Colorado. He also scored short-handed in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals in Detroit.
With seven Penguins players injured and out, Engelland was one of five first-year players on the ice for Pittsburgh, which is currently missing four of its top six defencemen.
Martin Skoula, playing more with all those defencemen injured, scored his with Pittsburgh early in the third, with rookie defenceman Ben Lovejay getting an assist for his second career point. Cooke added his second of the game into an empty net with 13 seconds remaining, with Staal assisting.
NOTES: Getzlaf’s 11-game scoring streak ended. Corey Perry stretched his to 12 by assisting on Marchant’s goal. … Fleury made 23 saves. … D Nate Guenin, who grew up in suburban Pittsburgh, made his Penguins’ debut; he played 12 games with Philadelphia earlier in his career.