It took over 55 minutes to score, but Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
' goal pulled the Oilers even at 55:05, opening the door for Jordan Eberle
and Ales Hemsky
to do the rest in the shootout.
Both scored, while Devan Dubnyk
stopped a pair, in addition to another 33 in regulation and overtime to ensure the Oilers' opening-night victory by a 2-1 score.
Follow me on Twitter | @ryandittrick
Fuelled by an emotional opening ceremony, the Oilers got a little too excited early on. At 2:33, the home side was assessed a bench minor for too many men. The Penguins peppered Devan Dubnyk
and, on the visitors' sixth shot 30 seconds into the power-play, Kris Letang's one-timer dribbled past the Oilers netminder to make it 1-0.
At 4:58, the Oilers went on the power-play when Pittsburgh's Joe Vitale was charged with holding. Edmonton came close when Taylor Hall
pounced on a goal-line centering pass, but the Penguins' 1-0 lead remained.
The Oilers went back on the power-play at 8:23, but much like the home team's earlier attempt, the two-minute advantage passed without a goal.
With 6:16 on the clock, another strong Oilers push resulted in a man-advantage opportunity; Elk Point, AB native Mark Letestu was assessed a cross-checking minor when he drilled Ales Hemsky
in the Penguins' end.
The power-play soon turned into a 5-on-3 opportunity, 1:29 later, when centre Pascal Dupuis was issued a hooking minor. The Oilers took a 13-8 lead on the shot clock, but were unable to orchestrate the tying marker.
Power-play chances continued to come late in the period, but it was the Oilers' turn to kill when Jeff Petry
was charged at 17:29. The Penguins' two-minute chance passed without incident and headed into the intermission with the visitors up 1-0.
With 20 minutes in the books, the Oilers trailed but held a 13-9 edge in shots.
An ill-advised breakout pass by Theo Peckham
forced Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
to take a tripping penalty at 2:45, putting Pittsburgh back on the man-advantage. Exceptional penalty-killing by Eric Belanger
and Dubnyk kept the Oilers within striking distance.
As the period's midway point passed, the Oilers and Penguins were tied 15-15 in shots. The visitors went back to the power-play when Tom Gilbert
was charged for hooking at 10:14. Blocked shots by Ladislav Smid
and Belanger, in addition to a sensational desperation denial by Dubnyk, preserved the Oilers' one-goal disadvantage.
The Oilers pushed hard late in the period, peppering Penguins 'tender Brent Johnson with three high-quality scoring chances, but were unable to cash the equalizer.
Minor penalties to Ryan Jones
and Jordan Staal put the teams in a 1:15-long 4-on-4 session but, once again, chances were scarce as Edmonton looked to pull even.
With 40 minutes expired, the Penguins continued to lead 1-0, while the Oilers held a slim 21-18 lead on the shot clock.
The Oilers continued to press early and nearly converted when Nugent-Hopkins' slick pass into the slot was redirected wide by Ryan Smyth
. The energy was soon squashed when Andy Sutton
rocketed the puck into Section 119, earning him a two-minute minor penalty.
The ensuing Penguins power-play passed in a hurry, and the game's 1-0 score continued to grace the scoreboard.
With 10:48 remaining, Cam Barker
played a pick on Jordan Staal, putting Pittsburgh back on the power-play - this time, a 4-on-3 advantage since Belanger and Deryk Engelland were assessed coincidental minors 39 seconds prior.
The Penguins' seventh PP opportunity passed without incident, as their 1-0 lead carried through to the period's 12-minute mark. By this time, the Oilers had established a 31-25 lead in shots, but were unable to solve Brent Johnson.
It took 46:52 once Pittsburgh took the lead, but the Oilers equalled the score, dramatically, late in the period. Nugent-Hopkins bulled his way toward the net, hammering the puck several times on Johnson; he collected his own rebound on one, slipping the biscuit past the Penguins netminder to tie the score, 1-1.
Moments later at 15:35, Ryan Smyth
crushed Pittsburgh's Chris Kunitz - a little too aggressively, mind you. Smyth was assessed an elbowing major and game misconduct on the play, putting the Penguins back on an extended power-play.
The Oilers came up big, killing all but the 34 remaining seconds prior to overtime.
16 seconds into the extra period, Steve Sullivan raced down the wing, snapping the puck up high. The blast eluded Dubnyk, but his crossbar saved the day as overtime continued and returned back to 5-on-5 action.
With only moments on the clock, Anton Lander
orchestrated the near game-winning goal. He passed to a streaking Petry down the middle, whose quick snapper struck iron, blocker-side.
With 65 minutes in the books, the Oilers held a 35-34 shot advantage but were headed to a shootout with the Penguins.
and Ales Hemsky
both scored with quick, up-top and glove-side shots on Brent Johnson. James Neal replied for Pittsburgh, allowing Linus Omark
to seal the victory. His YouTube style attempt went high and wide, opening the door for Devan Dubnyk
to be the hero.
No. 40 stopped Steve Sullivan's on-the-ice shot attempt, pushing the Oilers to a well-earned 2-1 win in the team's home- and season-opener.