Bobby Ryan offered up one tangible reason why the Ducks always win at home.
Speaking of himself, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, Ryan said, “we know where we each other are and we play well off the puck. The most important thing is to realize we can’t all have it all the same time and we have to support each other better. We’ve done that here at home. The key is to take it on the road when the matchups are not always going to be what we want.”
There’s more too it than that, of course. But for all the Ducks’ problems to begin the new season, they’re suddenly 4-1-1 at Honda Center after dispatching the Pittsburgh Penguins thanks to three quick second-period goals.
The Penguins were missing their top four defensemen. But the Ducks were missing their energy.
A four-game road trip melted into oblivion Monday at the Igloo, where the defending Stanley Cup champions held the Ducks to two goals despite missing injured blueliners Sergei Gonchar, Alex Goligoski, Kris Letang and Brooks Orpik. Marc-Andre Fleury made 23 saves, and his goal frame made another when Scott Niedermayer shot into a wide-open net during the second period.
Todd Marchant scored in the first period to pull the Ducks within 2-1, and picked up the secondary assist on Teemu Selanne’s third-period goal that made it 4-2. But clearly, the road-weary Ducks were playing catchup the entire night, taking some lazy penalties that translated into seven Penguins power plays.
Corey Perry notched the primary assist on Marchant’s goal, extending his scoring streak to a league-high 12 games. Linemate Ryan Getzlaf wasn’t as lucky, seeing his point streak end at 11 games, his franchise-record assist streak end at 10, and losing five minutes of ice time in the third period when he fought 38-year-old Bill Guerin at center ice.
Guerin and Matt Cooke scored in the first period for the Penguins, and Jordan Staal added a short-handed goal at 4:09 of the second that may have permanently deflated the Ducks. Martin Skoula and Cooke scored in the third period, the latter coming into an empty net with 12.9 seconds remaining.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 21 of 25 shots for the 6-10-3 Ducks, who return home to play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.
Kyle Calder, playing his first NHL game this season, was a minus-1 in 9:33 for the Ducks while alternating line partners.