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(AP) — Some of the NHL’s most dangerous skaters will be on the ice Monday night in Pittsburgh in Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
Evgeni Malkin may be part of that group, but he hasn’t been much of a threat to score lately.
Malkin is mired in a career-worst 13-game goalless stretch for the Penguins heading into this matchup with the Anaheim Ducks.
There is some serious firepower in this interconference contest. Crosby has 25 points and Getzlaf and Perry each have 23 to rank among the NHL leaders.
Malkin is second on Pittsburgh (12-8-0) with 18 points, yet only three have been goals – the last coming Oct. 17.
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Part of the problem may be he has mustered 19 shots in his last 11 games, and he may have been one of the players coach Dan Bylsma was referring to as not shooting enough in Saturday’s 4-1 loss at New Jersey.
“You have to look at other things than just the puck going in the net to see if there is cause for concern and if you’re getting opportunities,” Bylsma said. “I think tonight for us the situation we had about three or four good chances in the second period, we didn’t shoot the puck. We passed a lot of those opportunities and they were good people with good opportunities to shoot the puck and we didn’t take them.”
Crosby is also part of the problem with one goal in his last 10 games. He had three shots against the Devils, while Malkin registered two.
“At the end of the day, you gotta score and if you’re getting chances, I don’t know what you change,” Crosby said. “You try to go to the net just as much, you try to work on those little things.”
The Penguins have scored exactly one goal in every defeat of this 1-4-0 stretch.
Pittsburgh’s downturn after a strong start to the season mirrors the recent play of Anaheim (15-5-2), which is 0-2-1 entering the finale of this four-game trip.
The Ducks felt their play was better in Friday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Carolina. They have outshot every opponent on this trip.
“I think we played pretty well tonight,” veteran winger Teemu Selanne said. “The last two games, we haven’t been at the level where we should be, so we’re going in the right direction.”
One reason for the improved play could be Getzlaf’s return to the lineup after he missed three games with an upper-body injury. He recorded an assist to give him seven points in three games.
Perry had a goal and an assist after he was held without point in the first two games of the trip.
Special teams continue to plague the Ducks. They are at 11.7 percent on the power play, including a league-worst 6.5 percent on the road, and their penalty kill has also fared poorly at 75.4 percent.
Saku Koivu, Matt Beleskey and Mathieu Perreault all returned to practice Sunday. Koivu missed 10 games with a concussion, Beleskey hasn’t played since Oct. 5 with a broken thumb and Perreault sat out Friday with the flu.
Crosby will face the Ducks for the first time in three seasons. Anaheim won the last meeting 2-1 two seasons ago when he was injured.