The Pittsburgh Penguins and Edmonton Oilers met for the first time since 2011 on Tuesday night with the Penguins coming away with a 3-2 victory, sending Edmonton’s losing streak to four games. Dallas Eakins made some lineup changes for his Oilers; starting goaltender Jason LaBarbera on back-to-back nights, inserting Nail Yakupov back into the lineup, and playing recently re-called Ryan Jones over Luke Gazdic.
As expected, it didn’t take long for the Penguins to take control of the game. About three minutes into the first period, the Penguins took advantage of a faceoff win in the Oilers’ zone, and controlled play. Seconds later, Sidney Crosby found the puck behind the Edmonton goal and found Pascal Dupuis sitting on Jason LaBarbera’s left side. Dupuis gave Pittsburgh the early 1-0 lead after sliding the puck under the pads of the Edmonton goaltender. The Penguins took their one-goal lead into the first intermission, along with a 15-4 lead in the shot category.
Unlike their game the previous night against the Washington Capitals, the Oilers did not go away in the second period. At one and a half minutes into the second frame, Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry put a puck on net that was steered away by Marc-Andre Fleury. However, David Perron was able to beat Deryk Engelland to the rebound, and during the scrum in front of the net, Ales Hemsky skated behind Olli Maatta and put the puck in the back of the net to tie the game at one. Just about at the halfway point of the period, Pittsburgh regained the lead when Dupuis fired a shot on LaBarbera that he thought he stopped, only for the puck to trickle through him and get knocked into the net by Chris Kunitz for his second goal of the season. Kunitz and Crosby had a civil discussion about who had ownership of the goal, but officially, it went to Kunitz. The Oilers fought back though. At 15:59, Jordan Eberle evened the score once again when he backhanded a puck into a crowded Penguin net that somehow found its way over the red line. Like Kunitz, it was also Eberle’s second goal of the year. At the end of the second period, the game was tied at two, and the Oilers flipped the script on the Penguins, leading in shots, 15-9.
With the game tied after two periods, it was obviously important to win the third period. Both squads came out from the intermission fighting to win, but the Penguins would come away with the two points after Evgeni Malkin scored the game-winning goal at 7:20 of the period, also his second of the season. The goal came on the power play after ex-Penguin Andrew Ference was called for high-sticking after he, as Bob Errey put it, “Hit Crosby in the chicklits.” Marc-Andre Fleury was able to shut down the young Oilers for the 3-2 victory, his fifth on the year.
The Penguins head east down the PA Turnpike for their first meeting of the season with the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night (7:00 pm/et; Root Sports, CSN-PH, NHLN).
-No idea why Deryk Engelland was in the lineup, especially against a fast skating team like the Oilers.
-Strong game from Marc-Andre Fleury, stopping twenty shots and controlling rebounds for the most part.
-There is hope for Edmonton, they have the talent, but they just have to get everything to click. Goaltending would also help them. Jason LaBarbera and Devan Dubnyk isn’t a duo that is worrying anyone.
-Evgeni Malkin now has at least one goal against every team in the NHL.
1. C Sidney Crosby (3A)
2. LW Pascal Dupuis (1G, 1A)
3. RW Ales Hemsky (1G)