New Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy made his 2015 Pittsburgh debut in his former city of Anaheim. Lovejoy and the Pens got the win over the streaking Ducks, who had won seven of eight games.
Patric Hornqvist scored two goals in the second period and Sidney Crosby got his elusive 21st goal (although it was an empty-netter) to lead the Penguins past the Ducks in the second game in their Western Conference road trip.
Lovejoy isn’t the only former Duck on the Penguins roster. Chris Kunitz and Daniel Winnik formerly played in Anaheim as well. Lovejoy was traded on Monday for defenseman Simon Depres.
"Anaheim was such a special place for me," Lovejoy said in a postgame interview. "This morning I took an Uber to the rink from my old house in Newport (Beach), and I got a little emotional ... the driver was a bit weirded out. But I felt like I got it all out then, and I was able to come in here with so much energy and adrenaline.
Backup goaltender Thomas Greiss improved to 8-3-3 on the season and made 27 saves. The Pens have now won five of six games.
The Penguins’ star players were playing their best again Friday night. The first goal was scored in the second period by Blake Comeau with assists from young defenseman Derrick Pouliot and Evgeni Malkin, who with his two point game now has eight points in his last seven contests. Comeau took a long slap shot while coming in on the rush that managed to speed it’s why past Ducks’ goaltender Frederik Anderson.
The Pens took a commanding 3-0 lead after Hornqvist added a couple more goals in the period. David Perron and Crosby got helpers on the first, which came when Hornqvist managed to bank his shot off the back of Anderson from a very difficult angle.
The Penguins’ other addition at the trade deadline, former St. Louis defenseman Ian Cole, earned an assist on Hornqvist’s second goal for his first point as a Penguin.
Malkin scored his team-leading 28th goal of the year when his wrist shot had enough power on it to squirt by Anderson, who probably should have made the save. The Anaheim goalie had a rough go in his first career start agains the Penguins. He made just 16 saves on 21 shots.
Anaheim’s Tomas Fleischman, acquired from the Florida Panthers on Monday’s trade deadline, got the Ducks on the board in the third period. Corey Perry added another one to cut the lead to two, but by the time Crosby scored the empty-netter, it was too little to late for the homestanding Ducks.