Pens aim to continue mastery of NHL-leading Ducks

( - The Anaheim Ducks try to keep their winning streak intact and avoid a fourth straight loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night when the two clubs meet at Honda Center.

The NHL-leading Ducks have won four straight and seven of their past eight games and became the first team in the league to reach 90 points on the season with Wednesday's 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Anaheim got 37 saves from John Gibson to defeat the Eastern Conference-leading Habs and reach 91 points on the campaign.

Gibson improved to 6-1-0 in his last seven starts and was back by goals from Francois Beauchemin, Rickard Rakell and Cam Fowler. Anaheim had defeated a hosting Arizona club the previous night.

"I think we stuck with it. You have to get great goaltending, and we did," noted Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "Defensively, we limited them even though they had a fair amount of shots. We were opportunistic when we had to be. Coming off a back-to-back with travel, that's not bad."

Anaheim has lost three straight and seven of its past nine versus Pittsburgh, including a 6-4 road loss on Oct. 9 in the season opener for both clubs. Gibson allowed all six goals on 39 shots faced and Corey Perry had a hat trick in defeat.

Sidney Crosby logged two goals and an assist for the Penguins and Marc-Andre Fleury posted 25 saves.

Pittsburgh has lost six of its past eight in Anaheim however and dropped the opener of a four-game road trip 3-1 to the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday.

Evgeni Malkin had the only goal of the game for the Penguins, who had a four- game winning streak broken. Fleury allowed all three goals on 22 shots in the loss.

"They were intercepting a lot of our passes," said Crosby. "Their defense played really well. When they scored we were not playing well, but we certainly had plenty of time to get back into this."

The Penguins, who visit the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, have just a one- point lead on the Washington Capitals for third place in the Metropolitan Division and hope Malkin can extend his six-game point streak tonight.

Malkin had logged three straight three-point games ahead of the loss to the Avalanche and has posted six goals and six assists over his current run.

The Penguins and Ducks are meeting just days after Monday's trade that sent blueliner Ben Lovejoy from Pittsburgh to Anaheim for young defenseman Simon Despres.

The 31-year-old Lovejoy had a goal and 10 assists in 40 games with the Ducks and had originally made his NHL debut with the Penguins during the 2008-09 season. He was shipped to Anaheim in February of 2013 for a draft pick.

The 23-year-old Despres, a 2009 first-round pick by the Pens, had logged career highs of 15 assists, 17 points and 59 games played this season with Pittsburgh.