Taylor Hall and Benoit Pouliot are still out with foot injuries so Iiro Pakarinen was called up from the Oklahoma City Barons to play on the first line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle.
Meanwhile, David Perron and Mark Arcobello both had strong showings on the Penguins’ side of the puck in their return to Edmonton.
The game didn’t pop as you might expect from a Crosby/Perron/Malkin event. The game more drizzled out slowly like warm sludge out of a can.
18:00 Oilers come out looking timid.
13:00 Pittsburgh dominating with puck position. However the Oilers have managed to push the Penguins to the outside a lot limiting quality chances for them for at least the first half of the period.
10:45 Paul Martin is pressured behind Marc-Andre Fleury’s net and passes it to Iiro Pakarinen who puts it back for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Nuge sends it over the net for the Oilers best chance of the first period.
5:15 Oilers can’t get it out of their end. Every Penguin player seems to line up and have a crack at it.
Shots: Penguins 10 - Oilers 5
19:36 GOAL Victor Fasth goes down to stop play but loses the puck. It bounces off a couple skates. Fasth loses track of it and gets spun around. Mark Arcobello to Evengi Malkin and in. 1-0 Penguins.
19:00 Victor Fasth is sticking out a bit on the left side of the net and David Perron swings around from behind and runs into him. Fasth (maybe embellishing) loses his helmet. Perron comes over to apologize after the whistle and Fasth looks like he cusses him out. No penalty.
14:30 David Perron drives in by himself but is tied up by Andrew Ference in front of the net. Perhaps cautious to not skate into Fasth.
10:10 Nail Yakupov pushes hard into the boards and gets the puck to the close-by Derek Roy. Roy gets out in front of the net and gets a backhand off but it goes wide. This is probably the Oilers best chance of the second period.
5:51 PENALTY David Perron hooking, drawn by Rob Klinkhammer
3:51 Even strength. Petry rockets another one into Fleury.
0:00.5 GOAL Kris Letang slaps it from the blueline and the rebound goes in off Perron’s leg right at the buzzer. 2-0 Penguins.
Shots: Penguins 14 - Oilers 7
15:00 Best five minutes the Oilers have had all game. Several chances but nothing come of it.
13:30 Jordan Eberle is along the boards and gets a puck in the ear. Play is stopped and he goes back to the bench to shake it off.
8:45 Dangerous pass by Penguins gets intercepted in front of their net and Derek Roy bangs out a big backhand shot.
3:23 PENALTY Jeff Petry falls awkwardly into the boards with Chris Kunitz next to him. At that moment Matt Hendricks takes a run at David Perron and facewashes him. Robert Bortuzzo steps in as the teams have a minor scuffle. Hendricks and Bortuzzo are each handed roughing minors. Play 4vs4 but Victor Fasth leaves the ice for open net 5vs4.
1:44 Yakupov with two laser shots from the blue line. He’s done that a few times this game.
Shots: Penguins 2 - Oilers 10.
Total game shots: Penguins 26 - Oilers 22.
It’s easy to explain away the loss on Hall and Pouliot being gone, but there were things the Oilers did right.
Although the Oilers were non-existent in the offensive end, they did keep the Penguins to the outside and limited a good amount of quality shots. Both the Penguins goals came from unlucky bounces in front of the net.
With both Hall and Pouliot off the ice, there are obviously gaping holes in the Oilers’ already struggling game.
Even so, you hope a couple guys (usually looking at Nuge or Eberle) might show up with some extra jazz in their saxophones and keep them in it. But they can’t do it every night.
That said, Derek Roy and Jeff Petry put in strong, workmanlike efforts and seemed to generate the most quality chances. Petry pinched in higher in the offensive end perhaps the most I’ve seen him do yet.
Iiro Pakarinen didn’t spend much time with the puck but certainly tried to get noticed as a physical presence in the third period.
Any of Perron’s friendships with the Oilers are quickly fading away after his run-in with Fasth, and then Hendricks giving him a facewash later in the game.
Furthermore, the goal that bounced in off Perron’s leg at the 2nd period buzzer was probably demoralizing. Perhaps if it weren’t for that, the Oilers might have charged into the third with some more jam. One can dream, anyway.
The Oilers fly out to Toronto to play the Leafs on Saturday, Feb 7. Will either team score?