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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers @ Pittsburgh Penguins

Oilers look to rebound after third period collapse in Columbus

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers (46-27-6, 2nd, Pacific)

Pittsburgh Penguins (45-24-11, 3rd, Central)

26 April 2022

PPG Paints Arena

5 PM MT

TV: Sportsnet 360, Sportsnet East, Sportsnet Pacific

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Pensburgh

The Oilers took a 2-1 lead into the third period of their matinee game against Columbus on Sunday; they yielded four goals in the third to drop a 5-2 contest in fairly dramatic fashion. Evander Kane scored his 21st of the year early in the first, while Leon Draisaitl helped put the Oilers up with a power play goal in the second period. It wouldn’t be enough for Edmonton, as four different Jackets scored en route to a Columbus victory.

The Oilers are in Pittsburgh tonight looking to tamp down second place in the Pacific. Like Sunday, they’ll be down a couple of roster players as they search for the win. Can Edmonton get back in the win column tonight?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

“I think we try to paint the picture that they’re a competitive group. That’s the culture that they’ve built around this organization and they’re more skilled than they get credit for. I think they got a little bit of momentum on their powerplay, even the ones they didn’t score on. I think it gave them a little bit of offensive confidence. In the end, we didn’t get that kill at 2-2 and we couldn’t find that next goal. Give them credit, they did a lot of good things, but it’s certainly a missed opportunity.”

Source

That’s Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft after his club’s 5-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday.

Things began well for the Oilers when Evander Kane picked up his 21st goal of the season, but those feelings wouldn’t last past the second period. The Oilers couldn’t hold on to a 2-1 lead, surrendering four goals in a dismal third.

THE PENGUINS ARE SAYING

“You’ve got to get up for these games...You’ve got to find a way, obviously. The circumstances are different if you’re playing a team in a similar situation or fighting for a playoff spot. … We still have to find ways to win these games and we didn’t do that today.”

Source

That’s Penguins captain Sidney Crosby after his club’s 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.

Like the Oilers, Pittsburgh is jockeying for position in their division. With just two games left in Pittsburgh’s season, they’d love nothing more than to take two points at home tonight to stave off the Capitals.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • John Marino. Hey!
  • It’s always fun when Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid get together. Sidney Crosby’s name isn’t mentioned in MVP talk this year, but the first overall selection in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft has another 30 goal campaign to his career stats. It’s his tenth 30+ goal season for the surefire first ballot HOFer.
  • Rickard Rakell is poised to be a big ticket free agent this offseason. He’s on the last year of his six year deal that’s got him at just under 4MM cap space per year. Since being dealt to the Penguins from the Ducks, Rakell has 13 points in 17 games played (4-9-13). A good chunk of those points are helpers to Jake Guentzel and the aforementioned Crosby.
  • The Oilers are without Darnell Nurse and Jesse Puljujärvi again today. Puljujärvi’s absence was billed as an illness, while Darnell Nurse’s lower body injury might be a bit worse than we first imagined. Gregor reports that Nurse won’t play this week, and is up in the air for the first game of the playoffs next week. Not great.
  • With Darnell Nurse out of the lineup, Cowboy has found his way back in the lineup as an everyday player. Edmonton’s 2022 Masterton nominee could be in the lineup for game 1 next week if Nurse isn’t ready to play. The Oilers could call up Philip Broberg, but I’d predict the club to err on the side of experience should Nurse be unable to go.
  • With Puljujärvi out of the lineup, the 91-97-56 line got plenty of looks in Columbus. Also getting a look? The 91-97-44 line. Nothing good in just over two minutes of ice time, the Oilers simply can’t afford to have Jesse Puljujärvi out of the lineup for very much longer.
  • Expect the Oilers to turn back to Mike Smith in net tonight (15-9-2, .913 SV% / 2.88 GAA / 2 SO). Smith will look to add to his four game winning streak, while the Penguins are likely to counter with Casey deSmith (10-5-5, .915 SV% / 2.72 GAA / 3 SO). The Penguins have a three game home winning streak that they’d like to keep intact.
  • Oilers can nail down second place for good with a win in regulation, OT or a shootout tonight. With