Ducks drop a close one on the road to Penguins, 3-2

Phil Kessel's power-play goal in the second period stood as the game-winner in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night. 

Ian Cole and Conor Sheary also scored for the defending champion Penguins, who have won four straight home games against Anaheim and are 6-1 in their last seven games overall against the Ducks.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 33 saves, including several quality third-period stops while the Ducks pressed for the tying goal.

Chris Kunitz got his 200th assist with the Penguins in his 500th game with the team. Kunitz, who was acquired from Anaheim in 2009, became the 18th player and fifth active to play 500 games with Pittsburgh. 

Corey Perry scored his first of the season and 13th goal in 14 games against Pittsburgh. Cam Fowler scored on the power play for the Ducks, who haven't won in Pittsburgh in more than four years. 

Jonathan Bernier stopped 42 shots in his debut with the Ducks after being acquired from Toronto in the offseason. Bernier got the start over Pittsburgh native John Gibson, who allowed six goals during each of the previous two starts in his hometown. 

The Penguins played their second straight game without captain Sidney Crosby, who remains day to day with a concussion sustained during practice last week. Crosby, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner, missed practice Friday, but skated on his own Saturday morning before sitting out the team's optional morning skate. 

Evgeni Malkin, the 2011-12 NHL MVP, had one assist to help the Penguins improve to 96-49-18 in 163 regular-season games without Crosby. 

The Ducks are still looking for their first win under returning coach Randy Carlyle, who is back on the bench for his second stint with the team. Carlyle, who was with the team from 2005-11, is the Ducks' all-time winningest coach and led the franchise to a Stanley Cup in 2007. 

Fleury turned aside 12 shots in the first 10 minutes, including a sharp pad save on Chris Wagner from the top of the crease. That allowed Cole to put the Penguins in front with a seeing-eye shot from the point. 

The Ducks tied the score soon after by cashing in on a two-man advantage when Fowler beat Fleury with a slap shot from the right faceoff dot. 

Sheary's goal early in the second period gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead. Bernier misplayed the puck along the side of the net and Sheary scored after a scrum in front. 

Kessel extended the lead with a power-play goal, but Perry cut the deficit to 3-2 less than three minutes later. Fleury made the initial pad save off the faceoff, but Perry scored on the rebound. 

UP NEXT

Ducks at New York Islanders

When: 3 p.m. PDT, Sunday

On the air: TV: Prime; Radio: 830

Update: Ducks forward Emerson Etem could officially begin his second stint with Anaheim, where he played from 2012-15. He took warmups Saturday and the Ducks could want fresh legs for the second game of a back-to-back set. The Islanders also seek their first win and will play their home opener. John Tavares, a linemate of the Ducks’ Ryan Getzlaf in the World Cup of Hockey, has four goals and six assists in 10 career games against the Ducks. Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak is expected to start.

--Curtis Zupke

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