Oilers skate into Steel City
EDMONTON OILERS (6-5-1) at
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (6-4-2)
Start Time: 5:08 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet (HD)
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Game Notes | Oilers/Penguins Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics
by Marc Ciampa | edmontonoilers.com
|THE ESSENTIALS FOR TONIGHT
Following a heartbreaking loss in Columbus last night, the Edmonton Oilers have little time to think about lost opportunities with game five of their seven-game road swing tonight in Pittsburgh.
The team mounted a 4-2 lead against the Blue Jackets in the third period last night but ultimately lost 5-4 in regulation. The setback gave the club a 2-2-0 record through the first four games of this season-high road trip.
Immediately after the game, the team flew out to Pittsburgh where the Penguins have been waiting anxiously with no games at all in the past four days. After opening the season at 5-2-1 including a split of games with the Ottawa Senators in Stockholm, Sweden, Pittsburgh has only won one of its last four games. That victory came over the St. Louis Blues by a score of 6-3 on November 1 the last time the Penguins played.
This is the only meeting of the season between the Oilers and Penguins. Last year, Pittsburgh managed a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Edmonton at Rexall Place.
Just The Facts...
LINEUP UPDATES: Theo Peckham
draws in to the lineup tonight and will play alongside Tom Gilbert
. Ladislav Smid
sits this one out with a concussion. Mathieu Garon also starts tonight.
OILERS TO WATCH:
Despite a slow start to the season, Ales Hemsky
continues to lead the Oilers at a point-per-game pace. He has three goals and 12 points in 12 games... Sheldon Souray
is second in team scoring with nine points in 11 games. That total puts him in a tie for ninth in the NHL among blueliners... With eight points already on the season, Ethan Moreau is only a point away from his total achieved last season although he only played in 25 games.
PENGUINS TO WATCH:
In addition to Sidney Crosby, there are plenty of other Penguins to keep an eye on. Evgeni Malkin is tied for the NHL lead in points with 18.
He also leads the NHL in assists with 14 and is tied for the NHL lead with eight power-play assists... Defenceman Brooks Orpik leads the NHL with 53 hits and centre Mike Zigomanis leads the NHL with a 64.4 face-off percentage... Also, former Oiler Miroslav Satan had one of his most productive Octobers in his career. His five goals last month were third most in his career for October. He has 10 points so far this season after only 16 goals and 41 points last year.
Edmonton – Denis Grebeshkov (mild concussion) is doubtful. Ladislav Smid
(mild concussion) is doubtful; Pittsburgh – Sergei Gonchar (shoulder) is out. Ryan Whitney
(foot) is out.
Edmonton's penalty kill is tied for 29th in the NHL at 74.5% while Pittsburgh has the second best power play in the NHL on home ice at 31.0%... The Penguins are allowing 2.33 goals per game this season, ranking them seventh in the NHL. It is a slight increase from last year when the Penguins were yielding 2.58 goals per game... The Penguins blocked 207 shots this season, the most in the NHL. At home, the Penguins have blocked 118 shots, second most by a home team this season.
Three Oilers on NHL All-Star Game Ballot
- Three members of the Edmonton Oilers – Sheldon Souray
, Shawn Horcoff
, and Ales Hemsky
– have been named to the ballot in the XM/NHL All-Star Fan Balloting presented by 2K Sports. ...more
The Other Side
- Pens/Oilers Game Preview - Pittsburgh Penguins (6-4-2-14) vs. Edmonton Oilers (6-5-1-13) Where: Mellon Arena. When: Thursday, November 6, 7 p.m. Radio: WXDX Radio, FM 105.9 TV: FSN Pittsburgh, the game will be broadcast in HD. ...more
- Pens eager to get back on the ice - The Penguins will be back in action on Thursday night when they host the Edmonton Oilers at Mellon Arena at 7 p.m. Pittsburgh finished a stretch of four days without a game following its 6-3 victory over the Blues ...more
- Pens introduce vintage third jersey -
Third Jersey Unveiling
| The Penguins are going vintage. Pittsburgh introduced its new third jersey, which is the same jersey originally worn by the team during its inaugural season in 1967. Five Penguins players ...more
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
From the Wire (AP)
The Pittsburgh Penguins had been in a major scoring drought to open the season, but finally broke out offensively with six goals in their latest game.
Five days later, they'll see if they haven't lost their touch.
After a long layoff, the Penguins will try to stay hot on Thursday when they host the Edmonton Oilers, who have split the first four games of their season-long seven-game road trip.
Pittsburgh (6-4-2) had scored only 25 goals in its first 11 games (2.27 per game), a far cry from last season when it was seventh in the NHL with 2.93 per contest.
The Penguins had been especially bad during the first three games of their four-game road trip, scoring just four total goals while going 0-2-1. On Saturday in St. Louis, however, Pittsburgh started to click as six different players scored in a 6-3 rout of the Blues.
"It's big," said center Sidney Crosby, who had two assists. "You want to make sure your confidence level is there, and I think we had it."
It wasn't certain that Crosby would play until shortly before game time. He left the team's 4-1 loss to Phoenix on Thursday with an undisclosed injury, but logged nearly 23 minutes of ice time in St. Louis - his most in nearly two weeks.
Crosby should be ready to go when Edmonton (6-5-1) comes to town, and with four days off since their last game, the rest of the Penguins are antsy to get back on the ice.
"Anytime you have a lull in game action, it gives you a chance to work on things," defenseman Mark Eaton told the team's official Web site. "It's nice to get back home, get into a routine and get back in front of the Pittsburgh fans."
The Oilers, meanwhile, have barely seen their hometown fans this season. Edmonton has played nine of its 12 games on the road - including seven of its past eight - and has three more away from home before returning to Rexall Place.
After opening their current trip with a loss in Nashville, the Oilers won their next two games. It looked like they were on their way to a third straight victory on Wednesday in Columbus, but a two-goal lead quickly slipped away in the third period and the Blue Jackets went on to win 5-4.
"It's a painful, painful lesson," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "There's a right way to play this game and a wrong way to play it and we got on the wrong side of it early and it looked like we were going to get away with it. But we didn't."
Despite the loss, the Oilers seem to be finding some sort of offensive chemistry. Edmonton scored five goals during an 0-4-1 stretch from Oct. 22-30, but has 12 goals in its past three games, led by three goals and two assists from winger Ales Hemsky.
The team's goaltending situation, though, appears to be a bit more unsettled. While Marc-Andre Fleury (5-3-2, 2.34 goals-against average) is the clear No. 1 goaltender in Pittsburgh, it seems the Oilers aren't sure who their top netminder is.
Mathieu Garon (3-3-0, 3.18 GAA) came into the season as the team's top option, but it's 39-year-old Dwayne Roloson who may be forcing MacTavish's hand. Roloson has started Edmonton's last three games, and in five starts this season he's 2-2-1 with a 2.78 GAA.
The Penguins, who won in Edmonton last season, are 6-1-0 with two ties in their last nine meetings with the Oilers in Pittsburgh.