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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

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Oilers back home to host Penguins team that’s still scoring despite some key injuries

NHL: DEC 18 Oilers at Blues

Edmonton Oilers (19-14-4) 3rd, Pacific vs

Pittsburgh Penguins (20-10-4) 4th, Metropolitan

20 December 2019

Rogers Place

700 PM MST

TV: Sportsnet Oilers

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Pensburgh

SPLIT

After a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars, the Oilers succumbed to a 2-1 loss in St. Louis this past Wednesday. Brayden Schenn opened the scoring for St. Louis midway through the second period, while MacKenzie McEachern would score the eventual game winner midway through the third period. James Neal would pick up his 16th goal of the season late in the third, but it was too little, too late. The Blues top the Oilers by a 2-1 score, the Oilers split their two game roadie at 1-1.

Oilers are back home for a prime time matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Can the club stay afloat in the Pacific playoff chase?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

Koskinen was excellent...Kept us in the game, so a little disappointing we couldn’t find a way to manufacture a little more offense

Source

That’s Oilers head coach Dave Tippett after his club’s 2-1 loss to the Blues on Wednesday.

Koskinen has been a difference maker for the Oilers up to this point in the season, and he should continue to receive extra starts over the clear backup Mike Smith. Tonight’s game is the beginning of a back-to-back, so it’s likely that we’ll see Smith either tonight or tomorrow when the Canadiens are in town.

THE PENGUINS ARE SAYING

We understand it’s a tough league. Young guys have taken moments and enjoyed being here, and they understand a couple guys had injuries, and they take the chance. We’re not scoring five goals every game, but we’ll win 2-1, 3-2. It’s huge for us.

Source

That’s Penguins star Evgeni Malkin after his club’s 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night.

Malkin celebrated Pittsburgh’s win after scoring his 400th career goal that night.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • STOP TRYING TO MAKE FETCH HAPPEN - I shouldn’t have to explain why signing Zack Kassin to this type of deal is a bad idea. Don’t do this. Kassian is on the top line right now because the Oilers just don’t have any better options. He’s shooting 22% on the season, he’s going to be 29 years old, his career best was 29 points six years ago in Vancouver. If you pull Kassian off the top line, his points will dwindle to almost nothing. If this isn’t screaming “run”, you’re just never, ever going to see why this is a bad signing until a year after it happens.
  • The Penguins are riddled with injuries, but that’s not stopping them in an ultra competitive Metropolitan division. They’re seventh in goals scored per game (3.29), and they’re holding steady at seventh in goals allowed per game (2.85). Combine it with some rock solid goaltending, and things tend to go
  • Raise your hand if you had Jake Guentzel leading the Penguins in scoring this year. (17-19-36). Look for lots of him on a line with Evgeni Malkin tonight.
  • NET GAINS: The Oilers ought to roll with Mikko Koskinen (12-6-2, .919 SV% / 2.62 GAA / 1 SO). The Penguins are likely to roll with former Oil King Tristan Jarry (10-5-0, .940 SV% / 1.85 GAA / 3 SO). Those are some fine numbers from Jarry’s camp. It wouldn’t come as too much of a shock if the Oilers rolled with Mike Smith tonight, as he had a 51 save performance against the Penguins early last month in Pittsburgh.
  • SICK BAY: The Oilers are without Matt Benning (head). The Penguins are without Sidney Crosby (groin), Justin Schultz (lower body), Patric Hornqvist (lower body), Brian Dumoulin (ankle) and centre Nick Bjugstad (middle body)