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Preview: Oilers at Penguins

Edmonton rookie Connor McDavid excited to face Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby for first time

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

OILERS (9-3-1) at PENGUINS (8-2-2)

7 p.m. ET; ROOT, SNW, NHL.TV

Oilers team scope

Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid is excited to face one of his idols, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby, for the first time. "It'll be cool for me to play against Crosby, to play against someone I grew up idolizing," McDavid said. "I've followed him along his career, so I'm definitely excited about that." McDavid has gone without a goal in five consecutive games since getting five goals and 12 points in his first eight games. He's had an assist in two of his past three games and leads the Oilers with 14 points. Forward Zack Kassian, who did not skate Tuesday, is expected to miss a second game after being injured against the New York Islanders on Saturday. Coach Todd McLellan said forward Jesse Puljujarvi (charley horse), who skated Tuesday morning, would be a game-time decision. "The thing with Jesse is, if he gets in, he has to finish tonight," McLellan said. "That would be our one concern. If you don't finish and you're at the back-end of a road trip with a team that's played a lot, it's taxing on some other players." It's the last of a five-game road trip for the Oilers, who are 5-1-1 this season away from Rogers Place, including back-to-back weekend wins against the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings.

Penguins team scope

Crosby, who did not take part in an optional morning skate, is on a roll entering his first matchup with McDavid. Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said his team is focused on more than the Crosby-McDavid storyline. "They're obviously two of the elite players in the League right now, and that's always exciting when they're on the same ice surface," Sullivan said. "From our standpoint, with all due respect to both of the players, they're both terrific players, they're two pretty good teams too. The way I look at it is we're trying to improve as a group." Crosby has eight goals and 10 points in six games this season after missing Pittsburgh's first six games with a concussion. He has six goals and an assist in his past four games. Crosby's production has remained consistent despite centering for a variety of wings. For now, he's between left wing Carl Hagelin and right wing Patric Hornqvist. Hagelin assisted each of Crosby's two goals in a 5-0 win at the San Jose Sharks on Saturday that capped a 3-0-1 road trip. Pittsburgh is 5-0-1 at PPG Paints Arena and has not lost in regulation a 5-1 loss at the Nashville Predators on Oct. 22. Goalie Matt Murray is expected start for the first time at home this season. Murray is 2-0-0 and has stopped 64 of 65 shots since returning from a broken right hand.


Oilers projected lineup

Patrick Maroon -- Connor McDavid -- Jordan Eberle

Benoit Pouliot -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Anton Slepyshev

Milan Lucic -- Leon Draisaitl -- Tyler Pitlick

Anton Lander -- Mark Letestu -- Taylor Beck

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson

Andrej Sekera -- Matthew Benning

Darnell Nurse -- Eric Gryba

Cam Talbot

Jonas Gustavsson

Injured : Brandon Davidson (undisclosed), Mark Fayne (undisclosed), Matt Hendricks (lower body), Iiro Pakarinen (leg), Kris Russell (undisclosed), Zack Kassian (lower body), Jesse Puljujarvi (charley horse)

Scratched: None


Penguins projected lineup

Carl Hagelin -- Sidney Crosby -- Patric Hornqvist

Chris Kunitz -- Evgeni Malkin -- Phil Kessel

Scott Wilson -- Nick Bonino -- Bryan Rust

Conor Sheary -- Matt Cullen -- Eric Fehr

Brian Dumoulin -- Kris Letang

Olli Maatta -- Trevor Daley

Ian Cole -- Justin Schultz

Matt Murray

Marc-Andre Fleury

Scratched: Tom Kuhnhackl, Steve Oleksy, Chad Ruhwedel

Injured : Derrick Pouliot (lower body)


Status report

The Oilers recalled Beck from Bakersfield of the American Hockey League on Sunday. … The Penguins recalled Oleksy and Ruhwedel from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL and reassigned forward Tom Sestito on Tuesday.


Who's hot

Nugent-Hopkins scored the deciding goal in Edmonton's 2-1 win at Detroit on Sunday. He has scored one point in three of his past four games. … Crosby has scored at least one point in each of his six games.

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