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Penguins

Shea-ved Ice: Ducks Vs. Penguins Preview

By: Casey Shea
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – After two big wins over the weekend, the Penguins will be back in action Wednesday night when they play host to the Anaheim Ducks.

After struggling to score goals recently, the Penguins lit the lamp a combined 12 times in wins over the Winnipeg Jets and Tampa Bay Lightning.

The wins helped the Penguins move up the standings and gain ground within the Atlantic Division.

Currently the Penguins are tied with the Philadelphia Flyers for second in the division. While both clubs have 69 points, the Flyers own the tiebreaker with move regulation and overtime wins.

Both clubs are trailing the New York Rangers by 10 points and are ahead of the New Jersey Devils by one point.

If the playoffs began today, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia would meet in the first round.

Of course, the playoffs don’t start today and there’s a lot of hockey yet to be played beginning tonight against the Ducks.

The Ducks have struggled for most of the season, but have been playing better lately under new head coach Bruce Boudreau.

In their last 10 games, the Ducks are 6-2-2 and have not suffered a regulation loss since Feb. 1.

In the month of February, Anaheim is 4-1-2 and has won their last two games.

Last night, the Ducks trailed 1-0 heading to the third period against the Minnesota Wild. Goals by Niklas Hagman and Corey Perry powered the Ducks to a 2-1 win.

Jonas Hiller (20-19-9, 2.72 GAA, .907 save percentage) made 17 saves to earn his 20th win of the season.

It’s unknown if Hiller will get the nod for a second straight game tonight against the Penguins. In three career starts against Pittsburgh, Hiller is 1-2 with a 3.71 GAA and an .875 GAA.

For Pittsburgh, Evgeni Malkin continued his hot streak with two goals against the Lighting, giving him 69 points on the year.

He now has a seven-point lead over Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux and Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos in the NHL scoring race.

James Neal is one goal away from cracking the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career. His current total of 29 goals is already a career-high.

In 14 career games against the Ducks, Neal has two goals and nine assists.

Marc-Andre Fleury (29-13-3, 2.35 GAA, .911 save percentage) was given the day off on Sunday against the Lighting, but would be the likely candidate to get back between the pipes tonight.

Fleury is 4-1 against the Ducks with a 2.62 GAA and a .890 save percentage.

The puck is set to drop at 7 p.m. and you can watch the game on Root Sports.

You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sheavedice

For More Penguins Coverage Check Out Puck Talk With Popchock.

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