Tonight the Pittsburgh Penguins and Edmonton Oilers meet for the first time since 2011 in a matchup of two teams going in completely different directions. The Penguins are coming off a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night, and the Oilers are currently on a three-game losing streak, losing to the Washington Capitals, 4-2, last night, and can’t stop the puck from going in their own net.
When and where: Consol Energy Center (Pittsburgh, PA); 7:00 pm/et (Root Sports, SNET-W)
Records: Penguins (4-1-0, 8 pts.); Oilers (1-4-1, 3 pts.)
Last meeting: Due to the lockout that eliminated most of last season, inter-conference games were nixed. So this is the first meeting between the Penguins and Oilers since October 9, 2011 in Edmonton. In a low-scoring contest, the Penguins and Oilers battled to a 1-1 tie at the end of regulation. After a scoreless overtime, Edmonton got goals from Jordan Eberle and Ales Hemsky, in addition to key stops from Devan Dubnyk in the shootout to pick up the extra point and the victory against Pittsburgh.
Players to keep an eye on:
1. Justin Schultz: The ex-Duck draftee, turned Oiler, has registered points in his last two games. Last season, Schultz appeared in all forty-eight games for Edmonton and scored twenty-seven points (8G, 19A). The twenty-three year old defenseman also appeared in thirty-four games for the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL, scoring eighteen goals and thirty assists, earning the AHL’s defenseman of the year award.
2. Olli Maatta: While Kris Letang has been healing from a lower-body/knee injury, Olli Maatta has filled in quite well. The young defenseman has showed poise and great ice vision in the Penguins’ five games thus far. Maatta is definitely giving the coaching staff and front office something to think about when Letang is healthy enough to return to game action.
Ex-Penguin alert: D Corey Potter (2010-2011), LW Steve MacIntyre (2011-2013), D Andrew Ference (1999-2003), G Devan Dubnyk (appeared in four games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton during the 2006-2007 season)
Penguins: G Tomas Vokoun (blood clot), D Kris Letang (lower body), LW James Neal (upper body), RW Matt D’Agostini (lower body), RW Beau Bennett (lower body; day-to-day)
Oilers: C Sam Gagner (jaw), LW Steve MacIntyre (knee), D Corey Potter (back), LW Ryan Hamilton (knee), D Denis Grebeshkov (groin), LW Jesse Joensuu (unknown)
-The Oilers have given up an average of 4.83 goals per game, only the New York Rangers are worse with 5.00.
-Devan Dubnyk is not having a great year. In his last four games, he has given up five, five, three, and six goals to opponents.
-Plus/minus may be one of the most overrated stats in the game, but Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ales Hemsky, Taylor Hall, and Justin Schultz are a combined minus-30 on the season.
-Beau Bennett is day-to-day with a lower-body injury; Harry Zolnierczyk has been re-called in the event he can’t go tonight.
-Nail Yakupov has been a healthy scratch for the past two games for Edmonton, but will play tonight.
Penguins (via penguins.nhl.com)
14 Chris Kunitz-87 Sidney Crosby (C)-9 Pascal Dupuis
36 Jussi Jokinen-71 Evgeni Malkin (A)-12 Chuck Kobasew
17 Dustin Jeffrey-16 Brandon Sutter-39 Harry Zolnierczyk
15 Tanner Glass-46 Joe Vitale-27 Craig Adams
44 Brooks Orpik (A)-7 Paul Martin
4 Rob Scuderi-2 Matt Niskanen
3 Olli Maatta-41 Robert Bortuzzo
29 Marc-Andre Fleury (4-0-0, .930 Save %, 1.75 GAA, 1 SO)
Oilers (via dailyfaceoff.com)
4 Taylor Hall-93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-83 Ales Hemsky
94 Ryan Smyth (A)-26 Mark Arcobello-14 Jordan Eberle
57 David Perron-27 Boyd Gordon-64 Nail Yakupov
20 Luke Gazdic-41 Will Acton-13 Mike Brown
15 Nick Schultz (A)-21 Andrew Ference (C)
5 Ladislav Smid-2 Jeff Petry
19 Justin Schultz-77 Anton Belov
40 Devan Dubnyk (0-3-1, .829 Save %, 5.43 GAA, 0 SO)