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Oilers defeat Penguins for rare win in Pittsburgh

by Wes Crosby /

PITTSBURGH -- Goalie Anders Nilsson remained undefeated in the shootout to help the Edmonton Oilers earn their first win at Consol Energy Center by defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 on Saturday.

In the tiebreaker, Edmonton's Matt Hendricks faked a shot before taking a wrist shot over fallen goalie Jeff Zatkoff, and then Jordan Eberle put a shot through Zatkoff's five-hole.

Nilsson, who has won each of his five NHL shootouts, stopped David Perron and Sidney Crosby. He made 39 saves, his second highest total of the season.

"I felt pretty good. I felt like I saw the puck pretty well," Nilsson said. "I tracked the puck and felt comfortable out there. So overall, I felt good and I think we played a pretty good team game. Pittsburgh's a great team and it's not an easy building to come in and play. So, I think we battled hard and battled hard throughout 60 minutes or 65 minutes."

It was Edmonton's first win in Pittsburgh since Jan. 10, 2006 and its second since Feb. 18, 1993.

"It feels good to win. The guys got a good reward," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. "I thought we had a good effort from a lot of players. It was open. I'm not sure if that favored us or them. Obviously, in the end, us. But probably a little too open, but yet I thought we buckled down when we needed to."

The Oilers (8-14-2) and Penguins (13-8-2) each lost in overtime Friday, Pittsburgh 2-1 to the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Edmonton 4-3 to the Detroit Red Wings.

"I thought through the last half of the first period, we really started to take over the game by playing down low, playing below the circles against them," Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. "That's how we just took advantage of them in the game. We just missed on our chances."

With the Penguins trailing 2-0, Evgeni Malkin scored possibly Pittsburgh's most impressive goal of the season. He stripped Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom in the neutral zone, charged toward Nilsson and spun against defenseman Mark Fayne while backhanding a shot over Nilsson's glove 48 seconds into the second period.

"In practice, a couple times I've tried [the spin shot]," Malkin said, "and today, why not?"

Klefbom took responsibility for the play.

"You have to give him some credit. He's a tremendous player," Klefbom said. "That's a bad play by me, first of all, but he's a real good player and you have to give him credit for that goal. It was a beauty. … Obviously, it feels good now. If we would've lost this game, I wouldn't be this happy."

Malkin tied the game 2-2 with a slap shot on a power play for his Penguins-leading 11th goal 2:41 later. He has scored seven goals and 10 points in six games since criticizing the Penguins' performance following a closed-door meeting on Nov. 14, when Pittsburgh lost 4-0 to the New Jersey Devils.

Nearing the end of a 5-on-3, Malkin nearly completed a hat trick, but his shot hit the left post with about 10 seconds remaining in the second.

"It was a good game," Malkin said. "I got a couple good chances … I tried to do my best. It's bad when you score and the team doesn't win. I hope we play better in the next game."

Benoit Pouliot had a chance to give the Oilers a 3-2 lead on a penalty shot 4:56 into the third period after being tripped by Penguins defenseman Kris Letang. Pouliot deked to his left and came back to the right before trying to slide a shot into the net, but Zatkoff managed to make a toe save.

Leon Draisaitl opened the scoring after Oilers forward Taylor Hall took a wrist shot, collected the rebound and sent a second shot on Zatkoff. That rebound bounced to Draisaitl, who took a wrist shot into an open net for a 1-0 Edmonton lead 2:02 into the first period.

The Oilers increased their lead five seconds after Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi was called for tripping Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Mark Letestu won the faceoff back to Nugent-Hopkins, who slid a pass to Andrej Sekera at the point, where he one-timed a slap shot that Lauri Korpikoski deflected past goalie Jeff Zatkoff for a 2-0 lead 7:30 into the first.

Edmonton defenseman Justin Schultz returned after missing 14 games with a back injury. He played 17:52 in 26 shifts.

"I felt good," Schultz said. "Obviously the first couple shifts, I was like a little fast. I don't remember it being this fast, but once I got those under my belt, it was good. I felt like I got better as the game went on."

Edmonton forward Jujhar Khaira made his NHL debut; he played 10:02.

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