|Date of game: 10/9/2014
Recap: Pittsburgh vs. Anaheim
Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Sidney Crosby picked up right where he left off in 2013-14, with the reigning NHL MVP recording two goals and an assist to help the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 6-4 season-opening triumph over the Anaheim Ducks.
Pascal Dupuis chipped in a goal and three assists for a Pittsburgh team that was rolling offensively in new head coach Mike Johnston's first game behind the bench. Patric Hornqvist added a goal and one assist in his Penguins' debut, while Olli Maatta had three helpers in the win.
"It's certainly exciting," Johnston said of the result. "The first game out of 82 games, it's good to get the win. Now we've got some building blocks going forward and we faced a very good team tonight."
The Penguins put up 39 shots on Pittsburgh native John Gibson, who let up all six goals in a rough homecoming that spoiled a hat trick from Anaheim teammate Corey Perry.
"A tough situation for him in his hometown in the first game of the year," Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy said of Gibson. "But the team in front of him didn't play nearly well enough and we have to find a way to be better and we were not tonight. There were far too many things that went wrong, and we have to figure this out because that was embarrassing."
Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 25 chances for the Penguins.
Ryan Kesler, the Ducks' headline offseason acquisition, had a goal and two assists for his new team. Ryan Getzlaf and Sami Vatanen each registered two assists in the loss.
The Ducks potted three straight goals to briefly overcome a 3-0 deficit, but Pittsburgh struck twice more within a 54-second span late in the second period to move ahead to stay.
Crosby put the Penguins up 4-3 by taking in a Dupuis give and beating Gibson stick-side with a power-play drive with 2:26 remaining in the session. Blake Comeau then one-timed a Maatta pass over Gibson's shoulder for his first goal as a Penguin.
Anaheim had a chance to reduce the margin when the Penguins' Evgeni Malkin was called for hooking just 19 seconds into the third period. However, Dupuis forced a turnover in the neutral zone and fed Brandon Sutter for a back- breaking shorthanded tally that restored Pittsburgh's three-goal advantage.
Perry completed his sixth career hat trick by depositing a Getzlaf pass on another Ducks' power play with 3:13 to go.
The Penguins got the Johnston era off to a sensational start, connecting on three of their first eight shots against a shaky Gibson to build a sizeable early lead.
Crosby won a draw in the Anaheim zone right before Hornqvist began the sequence by putting home a quick wrister through a screen just over five minutes in.
Just over two minutes later, Maata delivered a crisp outlet pass to start a 3- on-2 rush that Crosby finished by rifling the puck under Gibson's left arm for a 2-0 advantage.
Maata also set up Pittsburgh's next goal with a nifty feed, finding Dupuis in the slot for an easy score into a wide-open left side with 6:46 remaining in the opening period.
Anaheim countered less than a minute afterward, as Kesler buried a Getzlaf pass into the top left corner on a power play to cut the margin to 3-1.
Gibson settled down to make 19 saves against a barrage of Penguin shots in the second period, helping the Ducks draw even on a pair of Perry scores later in the frame.
The first came as the result of a bad giveaway by Fleury in his own end, while the second converted a power-play opportunity right after the Ducks' Nate Thompson was denied by Fleury on a penalty shot midway through the stanza.
Pittsburgh was called for too many players on ice on the play, however, and Anaheim capitalized when Kesler put the puck right on Perry's stick for a successful wrister in close.Game Notes
The Ducks ended 3-for-6 on the power play ... The Penguins have now won four
straight and six of their last seven season openers ... Anaheim fell to 5-16-0
all-time in season lid-lifters, including a 3-14-0 mark on the road ...
Maata's three points were a career high ... The Ducks have now lost in six of
their last seven visits to Pittsburgh ... Prior to the game, the Penguins
placed forward Beau Bennett (lower body) on injured reserve and returned 2014
first-round pick Kasperi Kapanen to his professional team in his native