PITTSBURGH, PA - The Oilers pushed back after falling behind early, but two late goals by the Penguins shut the door on their comeback bid and Pittsburgh skated away with the 6-4 win.
Derek Roy scored for the Oilers at 10:04 of the third period to tie the game at 4-4, after the Oilers had fallen behind 4-0. Unfortunately for Edmonton, Pittsburgh responded with two goals to kill the comeback.
“I think just outworking them,” Roy said of how they were able to come back and tie the game. “I thought (Pittsburgh) played a little loose in the second period and then even looser in the third and we were jumping on them. In the first period, we had too much respect…good players in this league, when you give them respect and time and space, they make plays and eat you up. It’s a matter of getting gritty and playing really hard.”
The Oilers found themselves in an early hole, falling victim to a shorthanded goal by the Penguins.
With Nick Spaling in the penalty box for interference, Brandon Sutter burst past Justin Schultz at the Oilers blueline to set himself up on a breakaway. Sutter lifted a backhand past Ben Scrivens for the 1-0 lead, just 4:16 into the first period. Ben Lovejoy earned the secondary helper.
Sutter scored again, this time at even strength, to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead. Steve Downie threw the puck far pad and Scrivens kicked it wide. Sutter pounced on the juicy rebound, throwing it on net and past the goaltender for his second of the night, at 9:37 of the opening frame. Daniel Winnik added a helper.
At 13:36 of the first, Sidney Crosby fed David Perron out in front for his second goal against his former team this season, and 16th on the year. Patric Hornqvist recorded the second assist.
Crosby scored just 1:01 into the second period, on the power play, to give the Penguins a commanding 4-0 lead. Kris Letang was the one that fed him, but Evgeni Malkin picked up his 700th career point with the second assist. Richard Bachman replaced Scrivens in net.
The Oilers responded to that goal with two of their own in a span of 3:04. The first came at 12:07 of the second, when Anton Lander scored from right in the face of Marc-Andre Fleury, putting home a rebound with lots of traffic in front. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle both recorded assists on the power play goal.
The second came at 15:11, when Eberle tapped home a rebound of his own, again with traffic and chaos in the bubble of space around Fleury. Nugent-Hopkins and Mark Fayne recorded the assists. Suddenly, the Oilers had cut the Penguins lead in half.
The Oilers were searching for a quick goal to start the third and they got it. Roy beautifully fed Derek Pouliot for a power play goal at 4:51 of the third. Oscar Klefbom got the second assist.
Following Roy’s goal to make it 4-4, Downie spoiled the celebrations by driving the net and scoring the Penguins fifth goal at 14:38 of the third. Maxim Lapierre and Nick Spaling had the helpers. That goal was a bit of redemption for Downie, who had been in the box for high-sticking when Pouliot scored earlier.
“I took that penalty there and they scored on that, so it kind of put the team down,” Downie said. “It was good. It was a good play by ‘Spals’ and ‘Lappy’ getting the puck to the net and I just put in the rebound.”
Hornqvist made it a two-goal game again, making good on a feed from the corner by Crosby at 15:44 giving the Penguins some cushion. Despite the Oilers efforts, that late-game cushion was too much to overcome as the visitors lose a heartbreaker.
It’s the first time the Penguins surrendered a four-goal lead and won in regulation since November 13, 1971 against the Los Angeles Kings.