Final

Series (Game 1 of 1)

Pittsburgh leads 1-0

Game 1: Saturday, March 6th
Ducks1Final
Penguins2

Ducks 1

(25-27-8, 67 pts)

Penguins 2

(14-44-4, 38 pts)

7:30 PM ET, March 6, 2004

Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1 2 3 T
ANA 1 0 01
PIT 2 0 02

A. Chiodo (Penguins - G): Saves: 26, Save Pct.: .963

R. Malone (Penguins - LW): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

R. Jackman (Penguins - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

PITTSBURGH 2, ANAHEIM 1

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are no longer 0-for-2004 at home.

Rookie Andy Chiodo stopped 26 shots, including 17 in the third period, to make first-period goals by Ric Jackman and Matt Bradley stand up and the Penguins snapped a 16-game home winless streak with a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Saturday.

The Penguins, who also endured an 18-game winless streak overall earlier this season, were 0-15-1 at home since defeating Chicago on Dec. 29.

"We played a pretty darn good game against a team that was desperate, but I expected that kind of desperation from us, too," said Chiodo, who has taken over as Pittsburgh's No. 1 goaltender since being recalled from the minor leagues Feb. 17.

"I don't think anybody made it easy on them tonight."

The loss was a blow to the Ducks, the defending Western Conference champions who began the night six points out of a playoff spot. Playing their third game in four nights, they managed just 10 shots in the first two periods and only two during a critical four-minute power play early in the third.

"The third period, once again, is just not going to cut it for you in this league," said Anaheim's Steve Rucchin, whose goal with 9.8 seconds left in the first period was the game's final goal. "We weren't getting the puck to the net enough. Waiting until the third period ... it's too late in this league."

Pittsburgh, which set an NHL record by losing 14 consecutive home games until tying the New York Islanders on Tuesday, barely avoided another dubious entry in the record book. The longest home winless streak in NHL history is 17 games, set by Ottawa (0-15-2) in 1995-96 and matched by Atlanta (0-15-2) in 1999-2000.

"It's awesome, a great feeling, to finally break this home streak," defenseman Josef Melichar said.

Melichar set up Bradley's game-winning goal on a two-on-one break at 12:12 after taking the puck from Joffrey Lupul, who fell at the Pittsburgh blue line.

"It's a game of mistakes," Melichar said. "I made one last game, and tonight they made one and we got a goal."

The Penguins were coming off an embarrassing 9-4 home loss to Nashville on Thursday, allowing a team-record six power-play goals.

"We've been pretty good on nights right after we've been either blown out or taken advantage of," Pittsburgh coach Ed Olczyk said. "But the energy in the building was phenomenal and I give our fans a lot of credit. Even during the national anthem our guys were pretty pumped up."

The crowd of 14,286, the sixth-largest of the season for the Penguins, was treated to a rare first period as Pittsburgh took its first 2-0 at home in almost 13 months.

Jackman beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere with a one-timer from the center point on the power play at 2:24 for his seventh goal, and Bradley followed with his fifth goal. "Our goal every game is to have a good first period, but it doesn't always happen," Bradley said. "The first 15 minutes tonight were the best stretch we've had in a long time. Maybe all year."

The Ducks, who managed just one shot in the opening 19 minutes of the first period, cut the lead in half with 9.8 seconds left when Rucchin converted the rebound of Rob Niedermayer's backhander for his 18th goal.

"They came out and played very well and they really skated," Anaheim coach Mike Babcock said. "Yet, in saying that, I really thought that we didn't establish any kind of game until the third period. Here we are in a must-win situation and we didn't handle it the way you have to."

Game notes


The Penguins scratched Kelly Buchberger (heel) and Dan Focht. Anaheim scratched Mike LeClerc (knee) and Garrett Burnett. ... The Penguins had won just one of their previous eight games against Anaheim. ... Jon Sim, claimed off waivers from Los Angeles on Friday, made his Pittsburgh debut. ... Rucchin has four goals and seven points in five games. ... Jackman has five goals and 11 points in 11 games since being acquired from Toronto.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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