March 05, 2015

If one win isn't enough for Bruce Boudreau to think the Anaheim Ducks are improving, perhaps a rare victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins could change his mind.

Still in search of some consistency, the Ducks will try to win back-to-back games for just the second time this season Sunday night against the Penguins.

Anaheim (10-12-5) had the most points in the Western Conference last season but isn't anywhere close to contending for that status in 2015-16 after putting together a 5-5-3 stretch following a season-high four-game winning streak.

That run Nov. 1-7 is the last time Anaheim managed to string together at least two wins, and the Ducks have a chance to do it again after a 1-0 win over San Jose on Friday.

"We can't rest on our laurels that we won one game in a row," Boudreau said. "The NHL is about winning and winning every day. We have to play a better game (Sunday) than we did (Friday).

"We gotta keep the same mentality that we had. Sometimes we've been a group that's been satisfied with mediocrity. We want to become a group that's only satisfied with perfection. That's where winning two, three, four multiple games in a row is going to take place."

The Ducks have dropped four straight against Pittsburgh (14-8-2) and are 2-7-1 in the last 10 meetings.

John Gibson lost his only start versus the Penguins, stopping 33 shots in a 6-4 road loss Oct. 9. He'll likely get the nod again with Frederik Andersen dealing with the flu.

Anaheim is looking to jump-start its struggling power play, which has converted just 1 of 14 chances through the first four of a six-game homestand after going 7 for 19 over the previous six contests.

Corey Perry has scored eight of his team-high nine goals at home. He went without a point against the Sharks after collecting seven goals in six games. He has 11 goals and three assists in 11 career matchups with the Penguins, including six goals during a three-game scoring streak in the series.

The Penguins, who have dropped four of five on the road, gave up the first three goals and were outshot 37-20 in Saturday's 5-3 defeat at Los Angeles.

"I don't think we were good enough as a team," said defenseman Olli Maatta, who had a goal Friday in his return from a six-game absence due to an upper-body injury. "Everybody has to do a better job of competing and winning those puck battles."

Sidney Crosby has put together a strong stretch with four goals and as many assists in the past seven games - one fewer point than his total through the first 18 contests.

The star center has 12 points in nine career meetings with the Ducks, scoring all six of his goals in the last five matchups.

Evgeni Malkin is aiming to bounce back from one of his worst efforts of the season. He failed to get a point for just the second time in eight games and was a minus-3 against the Kings. He had 13 points, including eight goals, over the previous seven games to vault himself among the NHL's scoring leaders with 12 tallies.

Malkin has seven points in his last five games against Anaheim, including four points in his last two visits to Honda Center.

"Those are the guys if you can play a really good defensive game against them, you can play a good defensive game against any body," defenseman Hampus Lindholm said of trying to shut down Crosby and Malkin.

"It's a fun challenge and I'm ready for it."

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