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Oilers at Penguins preview

Malkin set to return for Pittsburgh; McDavid of Edmonton eyes first win in seven games facing Crosby

by Wes Crosby / Independent Correspondent

OILERS (9-4-1) at PENGUINS (8-5-0)



The Game

Evgeni Malkin will return to the lineup for the Pittsburgh Penguins when they host the Edmonton Oilers at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday.

The Penguins' second-line center was activated from injured reserve Saturday morning. Malkin has been out since Oct. 5, when he sustained a lower-body injury in 7-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Pittsburgh went 7-4-0 in 11 games without him.

Centers Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid will face each other for the seventh time. Crosby and the Penguins have won each of their six games, with three wins coming in overtime or a shootout, against McDavid and the Oilers. 

Pittsburgh has outscored its opponents 10-1 in two straight wins following a three-game losing streak.

Edmonton is 2-3-1 in its past six games after going 7-1-0 to open the season.


Players to watch

McDavid has 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in six games against Pittsburgh with Crosby playing. He has six points (one goal, five assists) in a four-game point streak.

Crosby has four points (two goals, two assists) in six games against Edmonton with McDavid playing. He has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past four games.


They said it

"I think we're a little bit different style of players. [Crosby has] been so successful. If I could even take just a little piece of his game and add it, I think that would help." -- Oilers captain Connor McDavid

"[McDavid] is a great playmaker. He can shoot the puck. He does everything well. I think his speed allows him to create all those things." -- Penguins captain Sidney Crosby


Oilers projected lineup

Leon Draisaitl -- Connor McDavid -- Zack Kassian

Jujhar Khaira -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Sam Gagner

James Neal -- Gaetan Haas -- Alex Chiasson

Tomas Jurco -- Riley Sheahan -- Patrick Russell

Darnell Nurse -- Ethan Bear

Oscar Klefbom -- Kris Russell

Brandon Manning -- Matt Benning

Mike Smith

Mikko Koskinen

Scratched: Colby Cave, Markus Granlund

Injured: Adam Larsson (leg), Joakim Nygard (rib), Joel Persson (concussion), Josh Archibald (foot)


Penguins projected lineup

Jake Guentzel -- Sidney Crosby -- Dominik Simon

Alex Galchenyuk -- Evgeni Malkin -- Patric Hornqvist

Jared McCann -- Nick Bjugstad -- Bryan Rust

Zach Aston-Reese -- Teddy Blueger -- Brandon Tanev

Brian Dumoulin -- Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson -- Justin Schultz

Jack Johnson -- John Marino

Matt Murray

Tristan Jarry

Scratched: Chad Ruhwedel, Juuso Riikola, Dominik Kahun

Injured: None


Status report

Sheahan is expected to play for Edmonton after sustaining an undisclosed injury in the first period of a 4-1 win at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday. ... McCann and Kahun rotated at third-line left wing during Pittsburgh's practice Friday.


Stat pack

Draisaitl has nine points (six goals, three assists) in a four-game goal/point streak. ... Murray is 6-1-0 with a 1.84 goals-against average, .933 save percentage and one shutout in his past seven starts. ... Guentzel has 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in his past 12 games, with at least one point in 11 of them.

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