EDMONTON, AB – David Perron scored a deflating late second period goal to give the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins a 2-0 lead against his former team, handing the Oilers a loss.
After an uneventful first period, the Penguins scored the game’s first goal just 24 seconds into the second.
The puck pin balled around Oilers goaltender Viktor Fasth at the side of the net. Former Oilers centre Mark Arcobello got it and chipped it ahead to Evgeni Malkin. Malkin, in his return from a groin injury that kept him out five games, shot it past the sprawling Fasth. Kris Letang earned the second assist.
At one point in the opening frame, shots on goal were tied at five. The Penguins went on a 10-0 run before the Oilers got their sixth shot on net, a little over five minutes into the second.
“We didn’t have the execution tonight,” Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson said. “It looked like we didn’t have any jump. We weren’t moving our feet. It was really a game that looked like both teams were not into it. Pittsburgh played just a solid home game and the thing is we wanted to dictate the play but we certainly did not do that. We just didn’t have any jump and our execution was off from the first period. It’s disappointing because we played a strong game in San Jose and we wanted to follow that game up.”
With 10:30 left in the second, Derek Roy had the puck in front of Marc-Andre Fleury and the Pittsburgh net, but the Oilers centre’s shot fired wide right.
The first penalty of the game came at 14:09 of the second period. In his return to Rexall Place, David Perron got called for hooking, which gave his former team an opportunity to tie things up. Jeff Petry had the best opportunity of the man advantage, rocketing a puck off the crossbar. However, the Oilers failed to net the equalizer.
Immediately following the power play, Fasth withstood a few moments of pressure from the Penguins, prompting applause from the Edmonton crowd.
Pittsburgh took a 2-0 lead with a remarkable .04 seconds left on the clock in the second. Letang fired a long-distance bomb and Perron snuck behind Fasth, sliding the rebound in with his skate. The goal was reviewed and upheld.
“That stung a bit obviously,” Nelson said. “You’re down by one and maybe have a bit more jump and you can find that extra gear. But once again, our team as a whole didn’t have the jump that they needed to have tonight.”
To start the third, the Oilers hemmed the Penguins in their own end for a few minutes. Unfortunately for the Oilers, their efforts could not yield results. Fleury turned away 22 shots for the shutout.
The loss comes two days after a “character” win over the San Jose Sharks, in which the Oilers battled back from losing Taylor Hall and Benoit Pouliot to injuries. Nelson and Oilers players both brought up that game as a measuring stick for this loss.
“I don’t think our effort was close to the San Jose game,” Oilers defenceman Oscar Klefbom said. “We have to play better and get some more pucks to the net. After two periods we were not happy at all. I think we played a little better but we have to come up with a better effort.”