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Staal leads rally as Pens top Oilers 3-2

by John Kreiser /

The Pittsburgh Penguins needed only 20 minutes to show a full house at Rexall Place why they're the defending Stanley Cup champs.

Trailing 2-0 after two periods, the Penguins completely dominated the third as Jordan Staal set three goals -- including Pascal Dupuis' game-winner -- in the Penguins' 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.

It was the Penguins' third win in four games on a trip that ends Saturday night in Vancouver, where Pittsburgh will try to complete a sweep of Western Canada. They won 3-1 at Calgary on Wednesday.

"This is not an easy trip," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "We are playing some very good teams here. I think getting on the road has hopefully simplified some things for us. A lot of times you get on a trip like this and it helps you regroup. Hopefully this is something we can build off of."

For two periods, the Oilers looked nothing like the team that had lost its last five and won just once in its last 13 games. Rookie goaltender Devan Dubnyk stopped all 17 shots he faced through 40 minutes, while the Oilers got second-period power-play goals by Andrew Cogliano at 1:34 and Lubomir Visnovsky at 11:53 to take a two-goal lead after 40 minutes.

"Obviously, the way we started the game wasn't our best effort," Staal said. "We've got to get off to better starts. We're not always going to crawl back and win games like this."

But Marc-Andre Fleury, who finished with 33 saves, kept the Penguins in the game with two big saves early in the third period. He stopped Dustin Penner on a breakaway a minute in and turned aside Fernando Pisani a minute later on a wide-open shot from the slot on a 2-on-1 break.

Given a second chance, the Penguins made the Oilers pay for their mistakes.

Pittsburgh got on the board at 3:18 when Staal fed Tyler Kennedy, whose wrister from inside the right circle hit Dubnyk's shoulder and went in under the crossbar, cutting the margin to 2-1.

"I gave him a pretty simple pass, and he did a great job of ripping it," Staal said.

Less than two minutes later, Ryan Stone was called for hooking -- and the Penguins got even at 6:48 when Dubnyk stopped Staal's shot but couldn't stretch far enough to stop Matt Cooke's rebound.

With Pittsburgh now completely controlling the game, the Penguins went ahead to stay at 11:53 when Staal forced a turnover behind the net, came out to Dubnyk's left and saw his pass hit a crease-crashing Pascal Dupuis and deflect into the net.

Edmonton's best chance to tie the game came with just under two minutes left when Sam Gagner was left all alone in the slot -- only to fire wide.

"We should have won the game," Cogliano said. "For two and a half periods we shut down Crosby, (Evgeni) Malkin and their big guns."

Oilers coach Pat Quinn said he liked the majority of what he saw from his team  -- just not the way things ended up.

"We do some stuff that I like a lot," he said. "We have played very well against good teams this year and then find a way to disappoint ourselves. That was tough because I thought our team played well and maybe deserved a different result. But we have to quit beating ourselves before we learn to win hockey games."

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report

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