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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, March 7th (All times Eastern)

Pittsburgh Penguins (41-17-4) at Anaheim Ducks (43-14-6), 10 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - It hasn't been the best of road trips for the Pittsburgh Penguins and things won't get easier on Friday night when they visit the Anaheim Ducks in a matchup between the two conference leaders in the NHL.

The Penguins kicked off a five-game swing with a trip to Soldier Field in Chicago to take on the Blackhawks. They lost that outdoor game 5-1 on Feb. 1 before rebounding to best the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.

The Pens resumed their trip last night looking to win for the first time in San Jose since 1997, but saw the Sharks score four times in the third period en route to a 5-3 setback.

Rookie Olli Maatta had two goals for the Penguins, who are 0-9-1 with a tie in their past 11 games in San Jose. Pittsburgh backup Jeff Zatkoff was tested often by the Sharks and finished with 42 saves on 46 shots.

However, Zatkoff fanned with the glove on Joe Thornton's tie-breaking goal. Thornton let a rather innocuous looking wrister go from just inside the blue line at the left point that eluded the netminder with 5:39 remaining.

"We did a good job in the first half of the game and then made it easy for them in the second half of the game," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said.

Pittsburgh has lost four of its past five overall, but still leads the Metropolitan Division by 14 points over the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Penguins, with 86 points, are one ahead of the Boston Bruins for the most in the Eastern Conference and trail the NHL and Western Conference-leading Ducks by six points.

San Jose's win over Pittsburgh pulled the Sharks to within five points of the Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division as Anaheim had a three-game win streak halted with Wednesday's 4-3 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

Tim Jackman, Francois Beauchemin, and Daniel Winnik scored for the Ducks, while Jonas Hiller posted 28 saves in defeat.

"We came out a little slow and had to start catching up," said Hiller. "We weren't focused enough, starting from me all the way up front."

Anaheim forward Teemu Selanne missed the game with the flu.

The Ducks had won two in a row over the Penguins before a 3-1 setback in Pittsburgh on Nov. 18. It was the Pens' fifth victory in the past seven meetings overall, though they have lost six of their last seven in Anaheim.

Hiller is 2-2-0 with a 3.02 goals against average in his career versus the Penguins, though he did not face them back in November.

Pittsburgh starter Marc-Andre Fleury did get the start on that day and made 27 saves. He improved to 5-2-0 with a 2.30 GAA lifetime versus the Ducks.

03/07 10:49:08 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
2nd
CAR 1
CLB 2
 
8:30pm Tonight
CAR
PIT
5th
NYY 1
TOR 1
 
5th
MIA 0
WAS 2
 
3rd
BAL 0
BOS 1
 
4th
PIT 0
MIL 0
 
4th
ATL 0
NYM 3
 
4th
TAM 0
CWS 4
 
2nd
MIN 0
CLE 0
 
1st
KAN 0
DET 0
 
1st
HOU 0
SEA 0
 
1st
CHC 0
LOS 1
 
3:35pm Today
ANA
TEX
4:05pm Today
OAK
PHI
4:10pm Today
COL
ARI
4:10pm Today
SDP
SFG
8:05pm Tonight
STL
CIN
2nd
CAR 1
CLB 2
 
5:00pm Tonight
WAS
BUF
 
6:30pm Tonight
CLB
STL
 
8:00pm Tonight
EDM
CAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
CAL
EDM
 
Half
CLE 7
BAL 10
 
Half
STL 21
DAL 10
 
Half
DET 12
GBP 7
 
Half
NYG 14
HOU 0
 
Half
JAC 0
IND 30
 
Half
NOS 13
MIN 6
 
Half
NEP 10
OAK 3
 
Half
BUF 3
SDC 13
 
Half
CIN 19
TEN 0
 
2nd
PHI 21
WAS 20
 
4:05pm Today
ARI
SFX
4:25pm Today
SEA
DEN
4:25pm Today
MIA
KAN
8:30pm Tonight
CAR
PIT