Tonight was the night that Sidney Crosby met Connor McDavid. Oilers could end a five game roadie with an impressive 3-1-1 record if they could pull off a victory in Pittsburgh. Can the Oilers keep the good times rolling?
Let's find out.
GOALIES: Talbot, Murray
It took the Penguins less than two minutes to cash in. Milan Lucic offered a very poor turnover at Pittsburgh's blue line which was scooped up by Conor Sheary. Off eight games recovering from an eye injury, Sheary streaked to the net untouched and banged a shot behind Cam Talbot to give Pittsburgh the early lead with just 1:57 gone in the opening period. Early play went to Pittsburgh, with a lot of early pressure in the Edmonton zone.
Pittsburgh and Edmonton would trade power plays. Six minutes in, Kris Letang was whistled for hooking Oiler forward Jordan Eberle, and Eric Gryba would sit for two as he was flagged for interference on Patric Hornqvist. Neither team would capitalize on the man advantage.
Oilers got on the board with a little more than five minutes remaining in the period. Patrick Maroon picked up an errant pass in his own zone, and he sent a beauty pass to Connor McDavid who was ready to cruise over the Penguin blue line. McDavid shipped a pass to Jordan Eberle in front of defenceman Brian Dumoulin. Eberle didn't miss from Matt Murray's left side, five feet out. 1-1.
Patrick Maroon had a goal of his own late in the first as Talbot turned aside a shot from Patrick Hornqvist. Jordan Eberle got it to Connor McDavid. McDavid and Maroon passed it back and forth as they went up the ice. McDavid and Maroon were able to split up the defence tandem of Brian Dumoulin and Kris Letang. 97 made a perfect pass in front of the defencemen onto Maroon's stick, and Maroon didn't miss just a few feet to the right of Matt Murray. 2-1 Oilers.
A late penalty was taken by Edmonton's Matt Benning, as he would go off for hooking Sidney Crosby with one minute remaining in the opening period. Pittsburgh would be unable to capitalize.
End of first: Oilers 2, Penguins 1
Shots: Oilers 11, Penguins 9
Pittsburgh begins the period on an abbreviated power play from the Benning penalty. No goals.
Jordan Eberle added one more for the Oilers after the Penguins were unable to capitalize on four-on-one break. Patrick Hornqvist took a shot about ten feet from Talbot, but the puck was recovered by Connor McDavid. Eberle took a short pass in the Oiler zone from McDavid. Eberle came in from the right side with McDavid breaking towards the net. Both Brian Dumoulin and Kris Letang went after McDavid, leaving Eberle alone and with the puck. Eberle scored on a backhanded shot right in front of Matt Murray. 3-1 Oilers.
Carl Hagelin would bring the Penguins to within one goal about nine minutes after Jordan Eberle's goal. After a harmless dump-in, defenceman Adam Larsson got the puck to Leon Draisaitl. Draisaitl had a had a couple of whacks on the puck - once in his own zone, and once immediately out of the zone, but the puck was turned over in the neutral zone to Sidney Crosby. Crosby would send a pass to Trevor Daley. Daley looked to pass it to Patric Hornqvist, but it passed right by to Carl Hagelin. Talbot was unable to get over to Hagelin, who had an easy tip in to bring Pittsburgh within one. 3-2 Oilers.
End of second: Oilers 3, Penguins 2
Second period shots - Penguins 14, Oilers 12
Total shots: Penguins 23, Oilers 23
Pittsburgh pressure early, and they'd be rewarded with a goal from Evgeni Malkin nearly six minutes into the third period. Tyler Pitlick had a scoring opportunity moments before. Pitlick got a shot on Murray, but Chris Kunitz shoveled it off to Phil Kessel, who began to charge up the right side. Kessel was able to get the puck over to Kunitz, who tapped it back to Kessel. Kunitz charged the net, and Kessel slid it over to Evgeni Malkin. Malkin was being chased by Tyler Pitlick, but Malkin tapped it by Talbot, who was greeted by a sliding Tyler Pltlick. Tie game, 3-3.
Oilers responded with some offence shortly after, but nothing materialized in the first half of the period. Patrick Maroon would take a high sticking penalty on Brian Dumoulin with five and a half minutes remaining. No goals were scored, and Pittsburgh didn't do themselves any favours by taking a too many men penalty a minute later. Oilers were able to generate a couple of shots during their abbreviated power play, but nothing would find its way behind Pens goalie Matt Murray.
Fast forward to the nineteenth minute of the third period, and Conor Sheary would get credit on a weird one. Oscar Klefbom was caught behind the Oiler net with the puck, he turned to make a play. He tried to get the puck out from behind the net, but the puck bounced off the stick of Conor Sheary who was waiting. Benoit Pouliot cruised in to rescue Talbot, but Pouliot unintentionally put it behind Talbot to give the Penguins the permanent lead in this one. 4-3 Penguins.
Talbot would be pulled shortly after, but the Oilers were unable to tie it up.
Final score: Penguins 4, Oilers 3.
Third period shots on goal: Penguins 9, Oilers 5
Final shots: Penguins 32, Oilers 28
Final Thoughts (in no particular order)
- Hey, the Oilers got out to a 3-1 lead!
- Holy crap, the Oilers gave up a 3-1 lead!
- Ugly giveaway by Milan Lucic early in the game to contribute to Pittsburgh's first goal
- Patrick Maroon is my guy for the top line next to Connor McDavid right now. A goal and an assist for Patrick Maroon, he's got seven points (5-2-7) in fourteen games this year.
- Jordan Eberle had a three point night (2-1-3). Ought to keep the vultures at bay for a while.
- Ugly giveaway by Klefbom behind his own net to Sheary. Not a great night for 77.
- First line did most of the heavy lifting tonight. This is going to be a recurring thing this year, I think. Top material from 19-97-14. The rest of the squad? Meh.
- Talbot was on the ice for four goals. Still no question he's top dog.
- Overall, a decent road trip that ends at 2-2-1, but the Oilers should've at least held on for a freakin' point in this one.