RECAP: Penguins 3, Oilers 2
Evgeni Malkin scored the go-ahead goal for Pittsburgh in the third as the Penguins held on to defeat Edmonton 3-2.
PITTSBURGH - After the Oilers tied the game twice in the second period, Evgeni Malkin scored the go-ahead goal for Pittsburgh in the third as the Penguins held on to defeat Edmonton 3-2.
"It was probably, maybe one of the more complete ones," said Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins. "I love that our guys were in the fight. We weathered a storm early from Pittsburgh. They came out flying in their own building here. We made some slight adjustments between the first and second, I thought (Jason) LaBarbera battled hard. Boy, he was in the fight in the net and played hard for us but yeah, that's about as complete of a game for us as we've had. I liked that our guys weren't shying away from the adversity."
"It's about wins and losses and we've got to find ways to win games," said LaBarbera who made 25 saves in the loss. "That's the bottom line. Everyone of us can step it up a bit more and just find a way to get a win and get a good feeling in here."
The Oilers went down early when Sidney Crosby passed the puck to Pascal Dupuis who scored five-hole on Jason LaBarbera at 3:08 of the opening period. Dupuis' goal was his second of the season.
The period would end with strong pressure by the Oilers in the Penguins zone with a delayed penalty. However the visitors couldn't connect or get shots through to tie the game. The period ended with Edmonton managing just three shots on goal compared to 15 by Pittsburgh.
The Oilers came out with a new energy in the second period, matching their first period shot total less than 1:30 into the middle frame. The Penguins penalty from the end of the first expired, but the Oilers would get the even-strength equalizer at 1:39.
Defenceman Jeff Petry fired a shot inside where David Perron was planted in the crease, glove side of goaltender Mac-Andre Fleury. Perron shot the puck from about a foot away but hit the post. The puck rebounded out behind Fleury and Ales Hemsky swiped it in for the game-tying goal.
Penguins superstar Crosby deflected the puck on LaBarbera from the slot. The puck trickled through the goaltender and Crosby, who circled around the net to the backdoor, took a whack at the loose puck. It grazed the stick of Chris Kunitz and went in for the go-ahead goal at 9:40 of the second.
The Oilers tied it up at two-all at 15:59 of the second when the top line of Taylor Hall, Mark Arcobello and Jordan Eberle came streaking down the ice. Eberle back-handed a shot wide, which deflected off the end wall to an awaiting Hall backdoor. Fleury struggled to get back in position with Arcobello in a shoving match with a Penguin at the top of the crease. Hall's shot was low and saved by the body of a sprawling Fleury.
The puck would eventually be freed out to Eberle who took a second try at the backhand and this time he found the back of the net, tying the game at 2-2.
In the third period with over 16 minutes remaining, LaBarbera made a huge save, point-blank on Dupuis to maintain the tie.
Oilers captain Andrew Ference took a penalty on a high-stick to Crosby with 13:08 left in the game. On the power play, Malkin scored on a one-timer from Paul Martin and Crosby at 7:20 to give Pittsburgh the 3-2 lead which proved to be enough to seal the victory.
"It's such a fine line between winning and losing in this league," said Eberle. "We're not playing bad by any means. We're doing a lot of good things but we just can't get over that line of winning games and I think once we find that way to do that, we have confidence in here that we'll start winning more.
"I have full confidence in this team that we'll turn it around and when we start winning, it's going to come in bunches."