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Rookie Gibbons' first goal sparks Penguins to win over Ducks

| Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, 12:18 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins celebrate Brian Gibbons' first NHL goal in the third period against the Ducks on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Brian Gibbons beats Ducks goaltender Viktor Fasth for his first NHL goal in the third period Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Joe Vitale fights for the puck with the Ducks' Luca Sbisa in the first period Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Ducks' Daneil Winnik defends the Penguins' Pascal Dupuis in the first period Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Ducks' Devante Smith-Pelly checks the Penguins' Brooks Orpik in the first period Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury makes a first-period save on the Ducks' Ryan Getzlaf on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury covers a rebound from a second-period shot by the Ducks' Andrew Cogliano on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Paul Martin blocks the centering attempt by the Ducks' Kyle Palmieri in the second period Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury flips the puck away from the Ducks' Nick Bonino in the second period Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Ducks goaltender Viktor Fasth makes a second-period save as the Penguins' Chris Kunitz skates behind the net Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury makes a third-period save on the Ducks' Andrew Cogliano on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Peguins captain Sidney Crosby scores a third-period goal past Ducks goaltender Viktor Fasth for a goal Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Brandon Sutter celebrates his third-period goal against the Ducks on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin celebrates with Sidney Crosby after Crosby's third-period goal against the Ducks on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Ducks' Teemu Selanne (right) cruises around Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury during the second period Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Brandon Sutter redirects a third-period shot past Ducks goaltender Niktor Fasth on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (29) pokes the puck away from the Ducks' Dustin Penner in the third period Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin gets around the Ducks' Daniel Winnik passing to Brian Gibbons for his first NHL goal Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.

With another deflating loss looking likely following a lifeless first period, the Penguins suddenly found themselves.

Maybe they found a player, too.

Brian Gibbons, playing in his first NHL game, triggered a third-period outburst of goals as the Penguins defeated Anaheim, 3-1, on Monday at Consol Energy Center.

Gibbons' take on how the Penguins snapped out of their funk was simple.

“I figured we had to shoot the puck,” he said.

That was logical given that it took the Penguins 18 minutes to put a shot on goal.

Captain Sidney Crosby, who scored his 10th goal of the season to cement the win in the third period, was able to joke about the team's inability to get a shot. When Beau Bennett finally put a puck on net with two minutes left in the first period, fans broke into mock applause.

“It was nice for the crowd to get into it there,” Crosby said. “I didn't think that was how we were going to get them into it.”

The Penguins got going with hard work.

All three goals were illustrations of the Penguins doing what they've been avoiding in recent games. They have lost four of their past six games, scoring one goal in each of those losses.

Staying on the perimeter has been an issue for the Penguins, but net-front presence helped them ice the victory.

Gibbons planted himself in the high slot in the third period while Tanner Glass stood in front of the net.

Evgeni Malkin, who had just skated onto the ice, took the puck and skated almost entirely around the perimeter of Anaheim's zone.

“It was my first shift ever with him,” Gibbons said. “I just wanted to make sure I went toward the net.”

Malkin finally found Gibbons, and he made no mistake.

Next, Sutter went to the net and deflected Olli Maatta's shot to make it 2-0.

Then, with the Penguins up 2-1 later in the third, Malkin and Chris Kunitz were in front of the net when Crosby floated a wrist shot past goaltender Viktor Fasth.

“We kept doing the right things out there,” Crosby said.

Coach Dan Bylsma will make sure the Penguins continue to see the worth of going to the net.

“We will see these goals tomorrow (on video) and note the net-front presence,” Bylsma said.

Bylsma reconfigured his top three lines before the game — Bennett played with Crosby and Kunitz, Malkin centered James Neal and Pascal Dupuis, and Sutter centered Gibbons and Jussi Jokinen — but the theme in the locker room following the victory was simple: Line combinations don't matter.

Bylsma called Anaheim “a tough matchup,” and Crosby said the Ducks “are a great defensive team that didn't give us much.”

The Penguins, locked in a scoreless tie into the third period, used brute force instead of finesse to take a victory. It might be a blueprint for future success.

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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