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PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (12-12-2) at
EDMONTON OILERS (13-14-1)
Start Time: 7:38 p.m. MST
Television: TSN (HD)
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com. Game Notes | Edmonton/Pittsburgh Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics With an opportunity to get back to .500 and potentially move into a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference on the line, the Edmonton Oilers meet the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at Rexall Place.
Tonight is the first game ever in Edmonton for 20-year-old phenom Sidney Crosby in this his third season in the NHL. Crosby already had a Hart Trophy as league MVP and Art Ross Trophy as NHL’s leading scorer on his resume before ever setting foot in Edmonton.
Edmonton has won a season-high three consecutive games heading into tonight. The streak started with a big 5-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks last Friday followed by a 4-0 win in Anaheim on Sunday. Two nights ago, the Oilers had a hard-fought 4-3 shootout win in Los Angeles over the Kings.
LAST GAME: Oilers 4, Kings 3 (SO) Pittsburgh, like Edmonton, has 26 points on the season but after a slow start to the season that saw them begin with a record of 8-11-2, they’re starting to turn their game around. The Pens have a record of 5-2-1 in their last eight games.
The last time these two teams met, the Oilers won 3-1 back on January 10, 2006. That game was in Pittsburgh.
Just The Facts...
Pre-Game Video... Horcoff, Roloson, Penner, Gagner, Gilbert & MacTavish talk about facing the Penguins tonight. 700K Penguins’ Captain Sidney Crosby, Oilers GM Kevin Lowe, Horcoff, Roloson, Gagner, Gilbert & MacTavish talk about Crosby and his first-ever visit to Edmonton. 700K Pre-Game Audio... Pre-Game vs. Pittsburgh: Craig MacTavish
Pre-Game vs. Pittsburgh: Tom Gilbert
Pre-Game vs. Pittsburgh: Ales Hemsky
Pre-Game vs. Pittsburgh: Shawn Horcoff
Pre-Game vs. Pittsburgh: Dwayne Roloson
Pre-Game vs. Pittsburgh: Dustin Penner
Pre-Game vs. Pittsburgh: Sam Gagner
Pre-Game vs. Pittsburgh: Kevin Lowe
Pre-Game vs. Pittsburgh: Craig MacTavish
Listen to all: Gagner, Gilbert, Hemsky, Horcoff, Penner, Roloson, Lowe and MacTavish (running time 26:15) BONUS Pre-Game Audio... Oilers defenceman Dick Tarnstrom gives an update on how he's feeling after his concussion and talks about playing with Sidney Crosby back in 05-06.
Oilers devise game plan for Crosby - Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby plays his first-ever game in Edmonton tonight but the Oilers' main concern is trying to get back to .500 and potentially sneak back into a playoff spot. ...more From NHL.com...
Gagner had his own rink of dreams - Sam Gagner’s success can be traced back to the outdoor rink that graced the Gagner backyard throughout his childhood. ...more News Updates The Other Side Sidney Crosby talks to the media Wednesday morning: 700K Penguins head coach Michel Therrien speaks with the media Wednesday: 700K Sidney Crosby arrives in Edmonton - Listen to Sidney Crosby's Press Conference from the Penguins' hotel on Tuesday. Click here to listen.
VIDEO: Sidney Crosby arrives in Edmonton - Watch video of Crosby's arrival. 700K
Penguins head to Western Canada - The Penguins are headed West. The team will make its longest roadtrip of the year this week as it heads to Western Canada ...more Item of the Game Each game, a different item is featured at The Oilers Store at Rexall Place.
Tonight's item is a Cadbury Cream Cap (regular $24.99, now $14.99).
Odds and Ends
Vote for the Play of the Week! - Each week, edmontonoilers.com features the best of the past seven days and gives fans a chance to vote on their favourite goal, hit or save. At the end of the season each weekly winner will become part of our Plays of the Year poll. ...more Matt Greene on Oilers Live - Defenceman Matt Greene is the guest on Oilers Live this Thursday at 1:00 p.m. Follow the link to ask him a question! ...more From the Wire
Sidney Crosby was a national legend growing up on the far eastern coast of Canada in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. But the western half of hockey's homeland also has an affinity for the NHL's biggest star.
Crosby makes his first trip to western Canada as the Pittsburgh Penguins look for their fifth win in six games on Wednesday when they face the Edmonton Oilers, who are looking for their fourth in a row.
It's the first of a four-game road trip for the Penguins (12-12-2), who will also visit Calgary and Vancouver before traveling back east, and because of the current NHL scheduling format, it's the first chance in Crosby's three-year career that fans of Canada's three Western Conference teams will see him play.
"It's always nice to go to new places," Crosby said. "It's a little busier (when the Penguins are in Canada). There's a lot more going on. A lot more interviews."
Crosby, the NHL's reigning scoring champ and MVP, is having three news conferences in Edmonton alone - one after the Penguins arrived at their hotel late Tuesday afternoon, and two others on game day Wednesday.
His team's play on the ice has begun to pick up over the past few weeks. After a two-week stretch in mid-November when it lost six of seven games, Pittsburgh responded by winning four of five, outscoring its opponents 20-12 in the process.
Its latest win was a 3-1 home victory against Phoenix on Monday, and it showed that even if Crosby isn't dominant, the Penguins can still win. The 20-year-old only had one shot on goal, though he did assist on rookie Kris Letang's power-play goal - the eventual game-winner - midway through the third period.
"He's smart and he got in the right spot, it took him a couple to get it but it was a big one for us," Crosby said. "The power play was struggling a bit there, so to get a chance like that late in the game and come through was big."
The improved performance of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has been a big reason for Pittsburgh's better play of late. He won one of his nine starts from Oct. 25-Nov. 22, going 1-5-1 with a 3.88 GAA in that span. But he's allowed just two goals in winning his last three starts, posting a 0.67 GAA.
Edmonton (13-14-1) has looked impressive in winning its last three games, beating Anaheim twice by a combined 9-1 score and edging Los Angeles 4-3 in a shootout on Monday.
The Oilers scored three times in the second period against the Kings to take a 3-2 lead, but Los Angeles tied the score with less than two minutes to play in regulation. After a scoreless overtime, Sam Gagner scored in the shootout and Mathieu Garon was perfect to pick up a win over his former team as Edmonton improved to a league-best 7-1 in shootouts.
"I was just trying to be focused on the puck," Garon said. "...They're so skilled that you never know what they're going to do. And for their part, they know me, too. So it's pretty even."
Edmonton has scored 72 goals, but has struggled on the power play. The Oilers have scored just 15 times in 125 chances with the man advantage - a 12 percent conversion rate that's the worst mark in the league.
Shawn Horcoff, Edmonton's leading scorer, has four of the team's power-play goals and leads the team with 11 goals and 16 assists.
The Penguins last played in Edmonton on Dec. 6, 2003, a 4-3 Oilers win. Edmonton also won the teams' most recent meeting, 3-1, in Pittsburgh on Jan. 10, 2006.