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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers @ Pittsburgh Penguins

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Oilers head out East needing wins fast.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (24-26-5) (5th, Pacific)

Pittsburgh Penguins (29-20-7) (4th, Metro)

600 PM MST

PPG Paints Arena

TV: Sportsnet

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Pensburgh

BACK WHERE WE STARTED

Edmonton entered Saturday’s game against the San Jose Sharks looking to build on their 4-1 victory over Minnesota. They failed to accomplish this goal, dropping a 5-2 decision to their Pacific Division rivals. The Sharks benefited from a hat trick by Kevin Labanc, while Joe Thornton scored three assists to tie Gordie Howe’s assist number (1,049) en route to San Jose’s easy victory over the Oilers. The Oilers got goals from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zack Kassian in defeat.

It doesn’t get easier for the Oilers as they’re headed to Pittsburgh to take on Sidney Crosby and the Penguins this evening. Can the Oilers pick up a much needed win on the road?

Let’s go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

We turned it over so many times in the first period we didn’t give ourselves a fighting chance. The game was over. When you turn it over that many times and you make casual plays like that, you give yourself no chance

Source

That’s Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock on his club’s first period versus San Jose. The Oilers were down 2-0 by the end of the first period, they’d be down 3-0 before getting one of their own midway through the second. By this time, the game was up.

The Penguins are saying

Just a really great game for [Murray]. I don’t know where to rank it, he’s played well for us for a long time. You don’t want to expect that, but in a way you kind of do at this point from him. He’s a big-game goalie

Source

That’s Penguins forward Sidney Crosby on goaltender Matt Murray’s 50-save performance against the Flyers on Monday.

The Penguins took Philadelphia by a 4-1 score. The Flyers had a five minute power play late in the game when Evgeni Mallkin received a match penalty for swinging his stick at Michael Raffl. Murray yielded just one goal on the extended PK.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • Who knew? You mean it’s not culture? You mean that it’s just the fact that the big voices upstairs are having trouble putting a winning product on the ice? You mean the club shouldn’t sign a career AHL player to play with a generational talent on the top line? What about a guy with a tonne of miles playing crash and bang hockey to play on the top line for seven years? Cam we add a NMC? We’re on year four of a generational talent. No rushing these things, you know. Forensic audit is in order, I’m sure.
  • Connor McDavid picked up another point in Edmonton’s 5-2 loss to the Sharks and is now at 81 on the season. Nikita Kucherov scored an impressive seven points (3-4-7) over two games against Florida and Calgary, he now leads the league with 88 points.
  • The Penguins are holding tight to the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Scoring goals is not a problem, they’re sixth in the league at 3.43 GPG. The Penguins rank 19th in goals allowed, averaging 3.05 goals per game.
  • NET GAINS: Cam Talbot turned aside 26 of 31 shots in Edmonton’s loss to the Sharks, it will be Mikko Koskinen who gets the nod tonight (14-11-2, .906 SV% / 2.89 GAA / 3 SO) for the Oilers. The Penguins are likely to counter with Matt Murray (16-9-1, .914 SV% / 2.89 GAA / 3 SO).
  • Evgeni Malkin will be out of the lineup for Pittsburgh tonight. He will serve a one game suspension for swinging his stick at Philadelphia’s Michael Raffl in Pittsburgh’s 4-1 win on Monday. Malkin has 56 points (14-42-56) in 51 games this season, it’s huge that he’ll be out of tonight’s game.
  • SICK BAY: Ty Rattie (undisclosed) and Matthew Benning (undisclosed) are both day-to-day. For Pittsburgh, Zach Aston-Reese is out (hand), Olli Maata (upper body) and Justin Schultz and day-to-day (ankle)