After a poor outing in Columbus, the Edmonton Oilers looked to end the road trip on a high note against the Pittsburgh Penguins. With a win, the Oilers would clinch home-ice advantage in the first series of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The matchup also saw another meeting between two of the league’s generational talents, Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby. Edmonton was also looking for consecutive victories over Pittsburgh for the first time in 16 years.
"McDavid and Draisaitl are the next generation" pic.twitter.com/2BXyFEPO30— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) April 26, 2022
Mike Smith got the start for the Oilers, and coming into Edmonton’s final road game of the year, boasted 9-0-0, GAA: 1.77, SV%: .948 and two shutouts in his last nine starts. Pittsburgh countered with Casey DeSmith.
The rest of the lineup looked like this:
Kane - McDavid - Yamamoto
McLeod - Draisaitl - Hyman
Foegele - RNH - Ryan
Brassard - Shore - Kassian
Kulak - Ceci
Keith - Bouchard
Russell - Barrie
Early on, the Oilers and Pens traded stick infraction penalties but neither team were either to capitalize, though the Oilers had many high quality opportunities. While the powerplay was unsuccessful, Edmonton maintained pressure afterwards and Evan Bouchard was the beneficiary of excellent forecheck work by Evander Kane and Connor McDavid as the Oilers took the lead late in the first.
Evan Bouchard’s strong game continued, as he walked in alone from the slot and sniped another past Casey DeSmith. However, Mike Sullivan and the Pens challenged for offside and had the goal overturned.
In a penalty that would be ruled under the category as “necessary”, Derrick Brassard took down Blueger who was wrapping around an open net with the puck to prevent an easy goal. Unfortunately for Edmonton, noted Oiler killer (23 goals in 37 games), Jeff Carter, pounced on a rebound off the end boards to smack home a PPG and tie the game.
The tie is short-lived though, as 21 seconds later a beautiful passing play by Edmonton’s top line is finished emphatically by Evander Kane to regain the lead.
Along with his 120th point milestone, McDavid also crossed into rare air with other legends of the game.
Most multi-point games in a season since 1993-94— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) April 27, 2022
Oilers Connor McDavid (2021-22) 45
Jaromir Jagr (1995-96) 45
Mario Lemieux (1995-96) 43
Wayne Gretzky (1993-94) 41
Early on in the third period, Kailer Yamamoto is taken down behind the Pens net. On the ensuing powerplay, Zach Hyman jumps on a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins rebound to give the Oilers a 3-1 edge.
McDavid’s clinic continued midway through the third, scoring from an impossible angle on the powerplay (again) to log his fourth point of the night and 122nd of the season.
The Penguins pulled their goalie with five minutes to go, and Mike Smith made multiple attempts at the open net – one missing by only inches. The Oilers ice it with an empty-netter late, and clinch home ice advantage against the LA Kings in the playoffs, which are scheduled to begin on May 2.