It took Sidney Crosby more than two seasons to finally hit the ice in Western Canada. It then took him more than two periods in Edmonton to really get up to speed.
Playing his 187th regular-season game, the 20-year-old Crosby had three assists in the third period to help Pittsburgh rally for a 4-2 victory over the Oilers on Wednesday night. The Nova Scotia native received a warm ovation from the fans when he came out for the pregame skate and waved to them after the final buzzer.
"It's great to come on the road and get a welcome like that. You never expect it, so it's nice," said Crosby, set to play his first NHL game in Calgary on Thursday night and make his Vancouver debut Saturday night.
Kris Letang, Maxime Talbot, Ryan Whitney and Colby Armstrong scored for Pittsburgh, playing its first game in Edmonton since Dec. 6, 2003.
"In the third, everybody came to play and that's why we won," Crosby said. "We skated better and we capitalized. We did a good job of taking advantage of the opportunities we had."
In other NHL games Wednesday night, it was: Ottawa 5, Florida 4; New Jersey 4, Boston 3 in overtime; Anaheim 4, Buffalo 1; Atlanta 4, the New York Islanders 3 in a shootout; Columbus 5, Colorado 4; Vancouver 3, Chicago 2; Phoenix 4, Los Angeles 1; San Jose 3, Dallas 2; and Philadelphia 3, Minnesota 1.
The Penguins have won five of their past six to improve to 13-12-2.
With Pittsburgh down 2-0 early in the third period, Talbot controlled a loose puck in front of goalie Dwayne Roloson and sent a backhand in.
Pittsburgh tied it 21 seconds later when Letang took a pass from Crosby in the high slot and wristed a low shot past Roloson.
Crosby set up Armstrong's go-ahead goal at 10:57, and finished it off at 13:30, firing a hard pass through the slot for Whitney's one-timer. Crosby has points in six straight games, scoring three goals and assisting on seven.
"We can't just let him do what he wants," Oilers forward Fernando Pisani said.
Robert Nilsson and Shawn Horcoff scored for Edmonton.
At Sunrise, Fla., Randy Robitaille scored twice, and Ray Emery stopped Kamil Kreps's penalty shot in the third period to help Ottawa snap a seven-game losing streak.
Mike Fisher, Nick Foligno and Jason Spezza also scored, and Emery finished with 21 saves. The losing streak was Ottawa's longest since an 11-game slide in 1995-96. Olli Jokinen scored twice, and Steve Montador and David Booth added goals for Florida.
At Newark, N.J., Patrik Elias scored his second goal of the game with 1:44 left in overtime, and New Jersey extended its winning streak to eight.
Zach Parise also scored twice, and Martin Brodeur made 23 saves to help the Devils overcome a three-goal deficit. Zdeno Chara, Glen Murray and Dennis Wideman had first-period goals for Boston.
At Anaheim, Calif., Andy McDonald had a goal and an assist, Mathieu Schneider and Corey Perry scored power-play goals, and Anaheim snapped a 10-game winless streak against Buffalo.
About a half-hour before the opening faceoff, Ducks general manager Brian Burke announced that playoff MVP Scott Niedermayer decided to return to the defending Stanley Cup champions after spending five months contemplating retirement.
Jochen Hecht scored for Buffalo in its first game in Anaheim since Oct. 24, 2003.
At Atlanta, Slava Kozlov and Ilya Kovalchuk scored in a shootout for Atlanta, and goalie Kari Lehtonen stopped Bill Guerin and Miroslav Satan in the tiebreaker.
Lehtonen made 30 stops in only his second start - both wins against the Islanders - since missing 16 games because of a groin injury.
Kovalchuk scored his NHL-leading 23rd goal, and Marian Hossa had a short-handed goal and added an assist for Atlanta. Pascal Dupuis also had a short-handed goal for the Thrashers, 0-for-9 on the power play.
Mike Comrie, Mike Sillinger and Trent Hunter scored for the Islanders.
At Columbus, Ohio, Dan Fritsche's goal with 4:05 left capped a wild six-goal third period in Columbus' comeback victory.
Rick Nash scored twice, and Joakim Lindstrom and Nikolai Zherdev added goals. Scott Hannan, Peter Stastny, Jeff Finger and Wojtek Wolski scored for Colorado.
At Chicago, Brendan Morrison scored early in the third period to break a tie and also had an assist for Vancouver.
Mattias Ohlund and Byron Ritchie also scored for the Canucks in their fourth victory in five games. Taylor Pyatt had two assists, and Roberto Luongo made 25 saves.
Martin Lapointe and Martin Havlat scored for Chicago.
At Glendale, Ariz., rookie Peter Mueller had a goal and two assists, and Phoenix snapped a four-game losing streak.
Steven Reinprecht, Radim Vrbata and Shane Doan also scored. Ilya Bryzgalov made 28 saves, allowing only Michael Cammalleri's goal.
At Dallas, Joe Thornton scored the go-ahead goal with 8:36 left and added two assists in San Jose's third straight victory.
Patrick Marleau added a goal, Jonathan Cheechoo scored on the power play, and Evgeni Nabakov stopped 17 shots for the Sharks, 7-1-3 in their past 11 games.
Mike Modano and Trevor Daley scored for the Stars.
At St. Paul, Minn., Jeff Carter had a goal and an assist, and Braydon Coburn also scored to help Philadelphia extend its road winning streak to four games.
Antero Niittymaki made 28 saves, allowing only Pavol Demitra's goal.