|Edmonton's Dustin Penner steps over a shot on goal as Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury deflects the puck away on November 6, 2008 at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)|
Despite battling back from a daunting 5-0 deficit with four unanswered goals in the latter half of the game, the Oilers were unable to find a fifth and suffered a 5-4 loss in Pittsburgh Thursday evening. Fernando Pisani, Tom Gilbert, Ales Hemsky, and Sheldon Souray all scored for the Oilers, while Mathieu Garon took the loss for the club.
Making his first appearance between the pipes since October 30th in Nashville, Garon started in net for the Oilers, directly opposite Penguins 'tender Marc-Andre Fleury.
Both goalies faced two shots each before scrappers Steve MacIntyre and Eric Godard dropped their gloves to trade a few shots of their own at the six-minute mark. Fighting majors were assessed, but Godard wouldn't be alone in the box for long as Darryl Sydor earned a holding penalty to give the Oilers the game's first powerplay.
Despite registering two shots on the man-advantage, the visitors were unable to beat Fleury. One minute later, the Penguins forced the play back into the Oilers zone and put pressure on Garon. With the goalie scrambling to corral the puck, Miroslav Satan slipped it under Garon and into the net to put Pittsburgh up 1-0 at the period's midway point.
The Oilers benefited from a second powerplay with six minutes left on the clock, but the Penguins would be the ones to capitalize. Sidney Crosby forced a turnaround in the neutral zone and descended in on Garon with Maxime Talbot at his side. Though Garon stopped Crosby's initial shot, the rebound landed on Talbot's stick and ended up in the net to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead heading into the second period.
Seven minutes into the second period, two delayed Oilers penalties brought Fleury out of his crease and put six Penguins skaters on the ice. The substitution resulted in a second goal for Satan and a 3-0 Penguins lead. The goal erased one of Edmonton's penalties but the second infraction -- a hooking penalty to Erik Cole -- kept the club down a man for two more minutes.
Although Edmonton resisted Pittsburgh's powerplay, an even-strength face-off in the Oilers zone armed Petr Sykora with the puck. Sykora beat Garon with a quick release to put the Penguins up 4-0. Less than two minutes later, Sykora added a second goal to make it five unanswered goals on 20 shots and force an Oilers goaltending change. In replacement of Garon, Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers took to the ice for the first time since October 17 at Calgary.
Drouin-Deslauriers was tested with a lone shot after coming into the game cold, but the Oilers forwards came to the rescue by lighting the lamp at the opposite end of the ice. With 1:27 left in the second period, Fernando Pisani backhanded the puck past Fleury to put the Oilers on the scoreboard and up 23 shots to 21 after 40 minutes of play.
31 seconds into the third period, Dustin Penner took a roughing penalty and the Penguins benefited from their third powerplay. But Pittsburgh failed to capitalize on the man-advantage and, after returning to the ice, Penner played a role in a second Oilers goal.
With Cole at his side, #27 broke into the Penguins zone and dropped the puck back to defenceman Tom Gilbert, who fired home his first of the season to set the score at 5-2.
27 seconds later, Ales Hemsky narrowed the gap even further. At 3:25, Hemsky scored on the backhand to put the Oilers within two goals of the hometown Penguins.
Edmonton's surge was threatened when call-up Theo Peckham pounced on Pittsburgh's agitator Matt Cooke. Peckham's fighting, instigating, and 10-minute misconduct penalties resulted in a five-minute penalty kill for the Oilers -- a sticky situation that got even stickier when a trio of roughing penalties netted a two-minute five-on-three for the Penguins.
But not only did the Oilers kill the penalties, the visitors maintained their shot lead through the infractions and added a shorthanded goal to their tally. After bursting out of the penalty box, Sheldon Souray concluded a breakaway with a fourth unanswered Oilers goal to put his club within one.
In the final three minutes of regulation, the Oilers killed a final penalty and pulled Drouin-Deslauriers for a six-skater assault. Although the club came close to beating Fleury with an equalizer, the Penguins kept a fifth Edmonton goal off the board to defeat the Oilers 5-4 Thursday night.