Oilers nipped 3-2 by Penguins
|Oilers Head Coach Pat Quinn joins other special guests at Rexall Place center ice during the Olympic Torch relay celebration before Thursday's game between Edmonton and Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh won the game 3-2. (Photo by Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club)
Edmonton dominated the first 40 minutes of Thursday's game, however it was the last 20 that decided the winner. The Oilers entered the third with 22 shots and a 2-0 lead, but the Penguins posted three unanswered goals in the final frame to take the game 3-2.
and Lubomir Visnovsky tallied the first two goals of the game, while Devan Dubnyk
finished with 28 saves in his third career NHL start. Jordan Staal and Marc-Andre Fleury were the stars for the victors, posting three assists and 33 saves respectively.
Prior to the game, Oilers fans were treated to a special pre-game ceremony involving the Olympic Torch and a handful of past and present Olympians. The torch was carried into Rexall Place and was held proudly at center ice during the Canadian and American national anthem.
When the pomp passed and the carpets were cleared away, the Oilers and Penguins got down to business. Pittsburgh took a slim early shot lead, but near the midway point of the frame a high-sticking minor to Staal gave Edmonton the edge for two minutes.
Late in the frame, coincidental hooking and charging minors to Craig Adams and Evgeni Malkin gave the Oil a five-on-three, but the first-period buzzer interrupted the home assault.
After 20 minutes, the shot clock read a paltry 4-3 in favour of Edmonton.
The Oilers started the second with a two-man-advantage for 1:48, and although Fleury did his best to resist the swarming blue-and-orange, he couldn't stave them off completely. With 13 seconds left in the powerplay, Cogliano hit Fleury's left pad once but not twice, going top shelf with the rebound to put Edmonton up 1-0.
At the game's midway point, the Penguins took their fourth consecutive penalty and the Oilers went back on the powerplay. Pittsburgh killed most of the Michael Rupp's infraction, but with eight seconds left, defenceman Visnovsky beat Fleury with a one-timer from the point to double Edmonton's lead.
Two minutes after the goal, the Oilers experienced the other side of the high-sticking situation when Ladislav Smid
was assessed two minutes. The Penguins tested Dubnyk with three shots on the powerplay, but the rookie goalie stood strong to keep the reigning Stanley Cup champs off the board.
With less than 30 seconds left in frame, Robert Nilsson broke in on net but lost his footing at the last second and barrelled into the goalie. Fleury pounced on the forward fists first and the resulting pile-up netted a goaltender interference minor to Nilsson and a roughing minor to the goalie.
After 40 minutes, the Oilers were up 2-0 and 22 shots to 17.
3:18 into the third, the Penguins broke their goose-egg. Although Dubnyk caught a piece of Tyler Kennedy's wrister, the puck slipped off his shoulder and under the crossbar, cutting Edmonton's lead to one.
Less than two minutes after the goal, Ryan Stone
took a hooking minor and the Penguins got back on even terms. Again, Dubnyk stopped an initial shot but couldn't stretch far enought to stop Matt Cooke's rebound and the game was tied 2-2.
The Penguins kept rolling. From the side of Dubnyk's net, Staal banked the puck off Pascal Dupuis to fool the Oilers goalie and give the visitors their first lead of the game.
Although the Oilers persevered, iced six skaters in the final minute, and attained 35 shots, they couldn't beat Fleury for a third time and dropped a 3-2 decision to the Penguins Thursday night.
|Three star selections