Penguins follow one another welcoming soaring ducks

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Dec 9 2021; Columbus, Ohio, United States; Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson (36) makes a save on a shot from Columbus Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic (not pictured) during the first period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks, who face the Penguins on Saturday in Pittsburgh, are booming.

The Ducks have won back-to-back wins and are 4-0-2, despite playing without injured captain Ryan Getzlaf.

With Pittsburgh playing in Washington on Friday, the Ducks were able to relax after winning 2-1 in a shootout Thursday against the Blue Jackets in Columbus.

“We’re playing for each other,” said Anaheim goaltender John Gibson. “It’s having fun. I think that’s what it is. You want to have fun. You want to win. You want to be successful. We seem to find ways to do it.

Gibson, who grew up in the Pittsburgh area, has been the key to the Ducks’ success. He’s had 11 wins so far, and his 2.60 goals against average and .917 save percentage are close to his career best records.

According to coach Dallas Eakins, Gibson played a key role in Anaheim’s victory on Thursday, with 33 saves in regulation and overtime.

“It’s rare that we’ve had more than two guys having an evening off,” Eakins said. “(Thursday) we had seven or eight. When that happens it puts a lot of pressure on our goalie. But luckily we have a world class one at Gibby. It was just an amazing performance.

Saturday marks the first meeting of the season between the Ducks and the Penguins, who did not face each other last season with an altered NHL schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pittsburgh won its third straight game in Washington, 4-2, playing its first game since it was announced that the team’s top scorer, leading winger Jake Guentzel, would be out for a week in the other due to what is believed to be a hand injury.

In what could be a relief and a boost of confidence, Kasperi Kapanen scored on Friday after being raised to number one in Guentzel’s absence, joining Sidney Crosby and Evan Rodrigues.

Kapanen struggled for much of the season, but he scored what turned out to be the deciding goal against the Capitals. He was put in place by his new line mates.

Playing with Crosby, said Kapanen, “is pretty awesome, to be honest. I thought our whole line clicked.

Saturday’s game is Pittsburgh’s first in a five-of-six home streak.

Alternate goaltender Casey DeSmith is set to start on Saturday after Tristan Jarry played in Washington on Friday.

This would only be DeSmith’s sixth start and appearance, partly because he struggled and also because Jarry performed at a high level.

DeSmith’s most recent departure, Monday in Seattle, turned out to be momentous – not because it was Pittsburgh’s first game against the Kraken Extension, but because it was DeSmith’s first victory in the season. He stopped 28 of 29 shots for his best game by far, a 6-1 win for the Penguins.

“Mentally it was important for me to go out there and get a solid win,” said DeSmith, who enjoyed a 3-0 lead at the start. ” Thank you

Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang is one point under 600 for his career.

–Field level media

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