|EDM||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
|PIT||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Edmonton Oilers center Shawn Horcoff's first three-goal performance in 309 NHL career games led to the first big blowup by Michel Therrien in his 11 games as Pittsburgh's coach.
Therrien ripped his team after Horcoff scored on a power play, short-handed and even strength during the Penguins' eighth loss in 11 games under the former Montreal Canadiens coach.
On a night his team was flat, Therrien was emotional and visibly angry.
``It's a pathetic performance,'' Therrien said of a team that has allowed a league-high 166 goals. ``Half of the team doesn't care. ... They're doing the best job to be the worst defensive squad in the league. They turn the puck over, they have no vision. The guys don't care. They pretend to care, but I know they don't care.
Therrien repeated a vulgarity several times to describe his defensemen, including $25 million free agent Sergei Gonchar, who has been a huge disappointment. Still, only two Penguins defensemen were minus for the night - Ryan Whitney and Dick Tarnstrom were a minus-1 - and the other four were even.
That didn't appease Therrien, who has a reputation for being tough and demanding but so far has been mostly upbeat about a mostly young Penguins team that is tied with the Capitals for the fewest points (31) in the Eastern Conference.
``We should take 50 percent of their salaries because they play only 50 percent of the time,'' Therrien said.
Even super rookie Sidney Crosby didn't look like he was into the game, getting only two shots, both in the first period. He had eight goals and nine assists during a 10-game scoring streak.
``Horcoff had three great chances and he converted all of them,'' said Crosby, who preferred to talk about the game's scoring star rather than his own play. ``He got it right tonight.''
At least to Therrien, the Penguins got it all wrong.
``What's the solution?'' Therrien said. ``I'm going to find the solution.''
The Penguins would have been shut out by Edmonton for their first time in their 39-year history if Ryan Malone hadn't gotten his stick in a Josef Melichar shot from the left point in the third period. No matter, Pittsburgh still lost its third in a row and 16th in 20 games.
Ryan Smyth set up the first two Horcoff goals as the Oilers ended an eight-game losing streak (0-6-2) in Pittsburgh that dated to Feb. 18, 1993, not long before the Penguins began an NHL record 17-game winning streak.
``It's a great feeling,'' the 28-year-old Horcoff said of his first hat trick since he played at Michigan State. ``It was just a matter tonight of being in the right spots.''
Edmonton had lost four of six overall, but improved to 13-8-2 on the road to 3-3-1 against Eastern Conference teams. The Penguins are 1-5 against the Western Conference and have lost 16 of 22 home games (6-11-5).
Crosby stayed out of the penalty box after drawing six penalties in two games last weekend against Atlanta, but that didn't make much difference. Pittsburgh managed 18 shots against a barely tested Jussi Markkanen, 11 in the first two periods as the Penguins twice took penalties to shorten all but one of their three power plays.
``I thought our defense played extraordinary,'' Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said.
Tarnstrom drew the game's first two penalties, then was on the ice when Smyth picked up a loose puck just inside the neutral zone and fed it ahead to Horcoff, who beat Marc-Andre Fleury between the pads.
Horcoff scored again in the first minute of the second period, skating down the slot to feather a backhander past Fleury, who turned aside 28 of 31 shots but only three of Horcoff's six shots.
Horcoff's final goal, his 14th, came in the final minute on a power play.
Notes: Edmonton is 7-2-2 in its last 11 road games. ... Penguins F Ziggy Palffy has one power-play goal in 36 games. ... Radek Dvorak missed his 14th game in the Oilers' last 15 with a sore groin. ... The Penguins' seven short-handed goals allowed are two fewer than the league high of nine, shared by three teams. ... Crosby was shut out for the first time since a 3-0 loss to St. Louis on Nov. 13 that led to former coach Eddie Olczyk's firing. ... Edmonton was 1-of-6 on the power play. ... Edmonton had gone so long without winning in Pittsburgh, the former NFL Oilers - who have been called the Tennessee Titans since 1999 - had won there long after they did, in 1998.
|SHG - Shawn Horcoff (12) ASST: Ryan Smyth (16)|
1 - 0 EDM
|Shawn Horcoff (13) ASST: Ales Hemsky (31), Ryan Smyth (17)|
2 - 0 EDM
|Ryan Malone (8) ASST: Josef Melichar (5), Mark Recchi (23)|
2 - 1 EDM
|PPG - Shawn Horcoff (14) ASST: Marty Reasoner (14), Chris Pronger (22)|
3 - 1 EDM
|Dick Tarnstrom Hooking against Ales Hemsky|
|Dick Tarnstrom Hooking against Marty Reasoner|
|Jason Smith Holding the stick against Max Talbot|
|Todd Harvey Hooking against Colby Armstrong|
|Sergei Gonchar Hooking against Ethan Moreau|
|Rob Scuderi Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Matt Greene Hooking against Konstantin Koltsov|
|Sergei Gonchar Hooking against Shawn Horcoff|
|Michel Ouellet Holding the stick against Steve Staios|
|SA: 18||TOI: 59:58|
|Saves: 17||EV: 16 - 17|
|PIM: 0||PP: 0 - 0|
|SV%: .944||SH: 1 - 1|
|SA: 31||TOI: 59:48|
|Saves: 28||EV: 23 - 24|
|PIM: 0||PP: 3 - 4|
|SV%: .903||SH: 2 - 3|