John Gibson made 28 saves, Brendan Guhle scored the winning goal in the second period and the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 on Friday night.
Danton Heinen and Ryan Getzlaf also scored for the Ducks, who have won two straight for the first time in over three weeks. Anaheim was missing its top three defensemen.
“It’s always nice. Maybe not as special as it once was, but it is still the hometown team,” said Gibson, a Pittsburgh native. “Any time you can have a good game against them, it’s always nice when you talk to your family and friends back home.”
Gibson had the play of the night late in the second period when he robbed Bryan Rust of a short-handed breakaway goal with a save off his left pad that would have tied the game at 2. The Ducks would use that momentum to score less than two minutes later when Guhle’s wrist shot went off Penguins defenseman Zach Trotman with 2:40 remaining to make it 3-1. It is Guhle’s third of the season and second in his last six games.
“That was one of those turning points right there,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said. “I thought we played with a little snarl and when we do that, we play well.”
Jason Zucker scored both of Pittsburgh’s goals. The left wing has 19 goals, with five coming in nine games with Pittsburgh since he was acquired from Minnesota. Marcus Pettersson had two assists.
The Penguins have five straight regulation losses for the first time since the 2011-12 season. They have gone from leading the Metropolitan Division to third place during the skid. Matt Murray stopped 18 shots.
“Well, we’re not scoring goals. Obviously, it’s hard to win when you don’t put the puck in the net. Having said that, I don’t think it’s been from a lack of opportunities,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “The last couple of games we’ve had a significant amount of scoring chances, the puck hasn’t gone in the net. I don’t know that there’s a common denominator through the five games.”
Despite being outshot 12-2 in the first period, the Ducks opened the scoring at 14:14 of the first period when Heinen took a centering pass from Kiefer Sherwood and chipped it past Murray. It was Heinen’s first goal and second point since he was traded from Boston to Anaheim on Monday.
Zucker evened it with a power-play goal 76 seconds into the second when he redirected Pettersson’s shot past Gibson’s stick and blocker.
Getzlaf and the Ducks regained the lead eight minutes later on the power play when he put home a rebound after Sam Steel’s shot hit the post.
Zucker gave Pittsburgh one last chance when he scored with 1:21 remaining after the Penguins brought on the extra skater.
NOTES: Gibson improved to 5-5 against the Penguins. … Anaheim backup G Ryan Miller did not dress due to the flu. Had Gibson been injured during the game, the NHL would have seen its second emergency goalie situation in less than a week. … LW Sonny Milano, who had an assist on Getzlaf’s goal, has three points (goal, two assists) since being acquired from Columbus on Monday.
Penguins: Travels to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.