Phil Kessel scored in overtime to lift the Penguins to a 2-1 victory
/ EdmontonOilers.com Head Writer
PITTSBURGH, PA - It was a scoreless goaltenders' duel until Pittsburgh's Ian Cole and Oilers Captain Connor McDavid traded third-period goals. In overtime, Phil Kessel got the game-winner to give the Penguins a 2-1 win.
The first period brought with it the return of two Oilers forwards: Drake Caggiula and Leon Draisaitl. Both were cleared to return from injury hours before the game and were inserted into the lineup together on the third line.
"First period, I was breathing out of my eyelids a little bit," said Caggiula. "It was tough to get back in game shape. You can't really mimic a game. But it was good to be out there. I thought, as the game went on, I thought I felt a lot more comfortable, started making more plays and it was a tough finish. Not what we wanted, but we can take a lot of things from this and move forward."
The return provided a boost for Edmonton, but it was Cam Talbot who made the biggest impact in the first frame. The Oilers goaltender was calm and locked in, stopping all 15 shots he faced in the opening period.
Less than seven minutes into the game, Oilers rookie Kailer Yamamoto almost scored his first NHL goal but missed wide on the open net from just in front.
Moments later, McDavid danced around Penguins defenceman Kris Letang and rifled a backhander on Murray, but the netminder kept Edmonton off the board.
The Oilers were outshot 15-8 in the opening frame.
Onward to the second, where Talbot was huge between the pipes once again. The Oilers netminder kicked out his pad to stop a Kessel chance on a 2-on-1 rush less than five minutes into the middle frame. Talbot finished the night with 42 saves on 44 shots.
"I feel pretty good," said Talbot, who stopped 94 of 99 shots on this three-game road trip. "I feel confident, I feel back to the way I was last year so hopefully I can just continue playing well and we'll find some goals up front, I know we will."
Midway through the second, the Oilers saw two prime scoring opportunities disappear. On a power play, Murray made an incredible stick save on Mark Letestu. The Oilers kept hammering away with a flurry of chances in that stretch of the game, including Patrick Maroon in the crease but somehow the puck stayed out.
Then, with 9:16 left in the period, Maroon just missed as the trailing guy on a rebound. The chances kept coming for Edmonton, but they hadn't yet solved Murray.
Later in the period, Edmonton had a 3-on-1 rush down the ice, shorthanded, but Murray stopped Oscar Klefbom's slap shot attempt. The kill was a strong one for the Oil, who were up against one of the best man-advantage units in the League.
The scoring drought was broken at 3:24 of the third when Cole buried a wrister to give the home team a 1-0 lead. Cole's shot through a screen went top shelf.
The Oilers got the equalizing response from their clutch captain with 2:53 remaining in the game. McDavid rifled a shot far side of Murray for his first goal since the season opener. Maroon extended his point streak to three games with the first assist.
"It's a big one point," said Maroon after the loss. "We crawled back. It was a really good game I thought. I really felt we made some strides on this road trip. I think three points got away from us this road trip and it could have been good for us, but I think we need to keep building, keep grinding away at this, keep chipping away at this. We can't hang our heads. We have to try to win a hockey game."
The final seconds ticked off the clock and Edmonton, for the second time this road trip, went to overtime. 42 seconds into OT, Kessel fired home a breakaway shot and lifted Pittsburgh to the 2-1 victory.
Defensively, the Oilers limited opponents to just five goals in three games on this eastern road swing. However, Edmonton only potted four of their own. They finish the trip 1-1-1 with their lone win coming in Chicago in overtime.
"If we would have been told we'd only give up five goals with two overtime matches, I would have thought we'd have a good chance at getting away with more than three points," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. "But that's the way it's going for us now. We'll pack up, we'll get home and we'll work at it."
The Oilers host the Dallas Stars Thursday night at Rogers Place.