The Pens are off on a West Coast trip this week where the weather is warm and the beach is near. Their first stop was in Anaheim to play the Ducks and visit old teammate Ryan Whitney. The Pens obviously didn't take in too much sun because they were able to pull out a victory, beating the Ducks 4-3.
The Ducks got on the board early with a goal from Corey Perry only four minutes into the game but the Ducks would put themselves up against the wall for almost the rest of the first period. The Ducks committed four penalties in a row and gave the Pens four chances to even the score at one but the Pens failed on all four chances. Things weren't exactly looking great for the Pens after not being able to score on four power plays but the lack of scoring wouldn't last for long.
About three minutes into the second period the Pens would get a goal from Mike Rupp, his FOURTH of the season, to tie the game at one. Tyler Kennedy and Jay McKee would get the assists. The Ducks would get a power play but the Pens successfully killed it. Jordan Staal also had Fleury's back when he made a fantastic save on a sure goal into an empty net and it wouldn't be the only time someone saved Fleury in this game. With a little less than ten minutes left in the second Kris Letang would score a goal on a Ducks delayed penalty in which the Pens had six on the ice. That put the them up 2-1. But then with under four minutes to go in the period, Corey Perry would strike again to tie the score at two. The game would remain tied going into the third.
Things were pretty back and fourth to start the third period until Alex Goligoski would score on a slap shot with just over twelve minutes left in the third period. Tyler Kennedy would show several times in this game what the Pens were missing without him in lineup but not more than on Gogo's goal. TK dove to keep the puck in the Duck's zone to get it Gogo who then let go on a slap shot that beat Jonas Hiller and put the Pens ahead 3-2. The lead wouldn't last long though as the Ducks quickly scored to tie it up. But that wouldn't last long either. Pascal Dupuis would score about a minute later on a slap shot to put the Pens up for good 4-3.
The rest of the third period was not easy though as the Ducks had their chances to tie it up again. Fleury would make a big glove save on Koivu, who thought for sure he had a goal. The second person to save a goal would be none other than Sidney Crosby. The Ducks were swarming a bit in the Pens' zone and we would see Sid break his stick, have Kunitz give him his and then giving it all he had playing without a stick. Fleury got caught out too far so Sid would lay down in front of the net and keep the shot out of it and keep the Pens' lead. Fleury owes Staal and Sid a drink for those remarkable saves.
The Pens would keep the Ducks from scoring in the last, frantic couple minutes of the game to win 4-3.
- Tyler Kennedy sure showed why the Pens don't want to be without him. He brings energy to any line he's on and isn't afraid to get gritty along the boards. He also plays hard and doesn't give up, as evidenced by his diving save to keep the puck in the zone and give it to Alex Goligoski for a slap shot that beat Hiller. How many people predicted Kennedy would be a player the Pens would miss that much?
- Jordan Staal and Sidney Crosby would show they have some goalie skills when they prevented two sure goals from going into empty nets. Crosby sure showed some grit and dedication when he threw himself on the ice to block a shot.
- The Pens first line didn't score, which means more now without Geno and the second line intact, but they still won. This sure shows the depth of this team when a guy like Mike Rupp has his fourth goal of the season (one more than his total last year) and two defensemen are scoring goals, with Gogo making a habit of it. Scary to think how good they really are considering how well they've done when not playing to the best of their abilities.
- Overall a pretty good game for the Pens even though things weren't clicking 100%. And the power play needs some serious help but without Geno and Gonch we kind of doubt it'll get better.
Next game is Thursday at 10:30 against the L.A. Kings.