Pittsburgh Penguins Vs Anaheim Ducks Preview


The Pittsburgh Penguins (0-0) open their season against the Anaheim Ducks (0-0) tonight at home in the Consol Energy Center. The puck drops at 7 pm eastern standard time.

Last season the Penguins swept the Ducks in their two game series. Marc-Andre Fleury won both games, in which he stopped 56 of 59 shots he faced. On all three goals scored last season, Corey Perry was involved. Head coach Mike Johnston needs to find a way to take Perry out of the game to minimize scoring opportunities.

Players to Watch:

Anaheim Ducks:

Corey Perry:

As mentioned above Perry has been an issue for the Pittsburgh Penguins’ defense. Watch for the Penguins to try and shut down the Ducks first line of Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.

May 10, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf (15) celebrates after scoring a goal in the first period against the Los Angeles Kings in game four of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Kesler:

Ryan Kesler has been regarded as one of the better second line, two way centers in the league. He not only has blazing speed, but tons of offensive talent. It will be interesting to watch Kesler and see how well he has adapted to his new team. For those who are unaware Kesler was traded from the Vancouver Canucks to the Ducks this past offseason.

Pittsburgh Penguins:

Patric Hornqvist:

Sticking with theme of veteran players in new places, Patric Hornqvist will make his regular season debut with the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight. Hornqvist was acquired from the Nashville Predators in the James Neal trade. Throughout his career Hornqvist has been a consistent scorer, posting over 20 goals four times. The Pittsburgh Penguins hope he can increase his scoring by playing alongside Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Tonight, Hornqvist will be playing on the first line with Crosby and on the first powerplay unit.

Christian Ehrhoff:

It has been somewhat of a whirlwind offseason for defenseman Christian Ehrhoff. A day or two after being bought out of his contract by the Buffalo Sabres, Ehrhoff signed a one year deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Ehrhoff is a gritty defenseman who can contributed offensively. It will be interesting to see how Johnston deploys his defensive pairs tonight. Watch for Ehrhoff to rapidly become a fan favorite and play in the Penguins top 4.

In the Net:

Anaheim Ducks:

John Gibson:

The Pittsburgh native returns to his home city tonight, only he is not playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Gibson is young (21 years old) and has little NHL experience. Last season he only played three games for Anaheim, granted in those three games he played spectacularly. He played his way to a .954 save percentage and a 1.33 goals against average. The numbers are impressive to say the least, watch for the Pittsburgh Penguins to test him early, and test him often. I could easily see the Penguins putting 30-40 shots on goal to try and rattle Gibson’s confidence.

Pittsburgh Penguins:

Marc-Andre Fleury:

The man known in Pittsburgh as “The Flower” will open the Penguins regular season between the pipes. This should be no surprise for Penguins fans, Fleury has been a workhorse throughout his career and should continue that trend this season.

May 9, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) guards the net against the New York Rangers during the third period in game five of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Rangers won 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It feels like Fleury has been playing in the black and gold sweater forever but he is still only just 29 years old.

Injury Concerns:

For the first time in a while the Pittsburgh Penguins are mostly healthy. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis and Kris Letang are all entering this season relatively healthy and ready to prove themselves. There were concerns over if Malkin would play in the opener but everything is pointing to him starting tonight. The biggest injury question is whether young defender Olli Maatta will play tonight. Maatta is returning off shoulder surgery and only recently was cleared to resume practicing.

What do you think will happen during tonight’s game Penguins fans? Let us know in the comments below.