Ducks visit Penguins in search of perfect road trip

The Anaheim Ducks will be looking to polish off a perfect four-game road trip Monday when they meet the Pittsburgh Penguins. It took overtime for the Ducks to win at Columbus and Boston, before Saturday’s visit to Philadelphia. They made it 3-0-0 on the trip with a dominating performance in a 7-4 win over the Flyers. “Winning on the road with a young team is very tough. You want to pay attention to details whether it is on home ice or in away rinks,” said Anaheim winger Frank Vatrano, who notched his fifth career hat trick Saturday. “We’ve fallen behind a few games, but we’re playing good hockey.” The Ducks tied their franchise record for goals in a road game in Saturday’s victory. Vatrano is providing veteran leadership for the young Ducks. He has eight goals in eight games, including two hat tricks. “Goal scoring is a funny thing – sometimes they go in, and sometimes they don’t,” Vatrano said. “You are going to have ups and downs with goal scoring. So far, they are going in, and we’ll just roll with that.” Anaheim’s first eight games bear that out. After getting six goals in the opener, the team totaled four goals in three games. Now, the Ducks have broken out with 14 goals over the first three games of the road trip after new head coach Greg Cronin essentially pleaded for more shots on net. Anaheim center Ryan Strome, who had a goal and two assists against the Flyers, also is providing a veteran presence. He has eight points in eight games. Strome and Vatrano have been playing with 20-year-old Mason McTavish. “We’re using each other’s skill sets,” Strome said of the line. “Frankie is a shooter and a scorer. (McTavish) is a great up-and-coming player.” The Ducks and Penguins will finish the season series quickly with Pittsburgh set to play at Anaheim on Nov. 7. That will be part of a three-game West Coast trip for the Penguins that follows the current four-game homestand, which has not gone exactly as planned. Pittsburgh fell 4-1 to Dallas before putting together what was a rousing statement win, 4-0 over Colorado. But the Penguins failed to gain momentum. They fell 5-2 on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators and will need to beat Anaheim just to break even on the homestand. “I just think we’ve got to keep our swagger,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. “We’ve got to simplify the game.” Two areas stick out for the Penguins: goaltending and the power play. Goalie Tristan Jarry, who signed a five-year contract worth nearly $27 million in the offseason, is 2-4-0. Both of those wins have come via shutout, but he has not been consistent and was pulled Saturday after giving up three goals on nine shots. “I thought Ottawa was very opportunistic; the chances they got, they finished on,” Sullivan said. Pittsburgh’s power play went 0-for-2 Saturday and has just two goals in 20 chances over eight games. It is on an 0-for-16 skid. “Part of the process needs to be we need to simplify it,” Sullivan said. “We’ve got to shoot the puck more. I think we’ve got to make a hard effort in front (of the net). And I think if we do that, pucks will go in the net.”