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Aftermath: Penguins 3, Oilers 2

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins

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Story: Third-Period Rally Lifts Penguins to Victory
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Sometimes you just have to be patient, keep the game close and then pounce on your opportunities when they arise as the road team. This was exactly what the Pittsburgh Penguins did against the Edmonton Oilers and the result was Pittsburgh skating away from Rexall Place with a 3-2 come-from-behind victory.

Edmonton had won only once in their previous 13 games entering the contest but for the first 42 minutes of this game they slowed the pace of the game down and used two power-play goals to open up a 2-0 lead on the Penguins after two periods. But just as they had on their last visit to Edmonton on Dec. 5, 2007, the Penguins erased Edmonton’s 2-0 lead with a dominant third period.

The third period was a microcosm of why the Penguins have one of the top-five records in the National Hockey League and why Edmonton sits in the cellar of the Western Conference. Dustin Penner had a breakaway and Fernando Pisani a quality shot off a two-on-one, but Marc-Andre Fleury stopped both when they could have opened up a 3-0 lead for the Oilers. Like good teams do, the Penguins took advantage and tallies from Tyler Kennedy, Matt Cooke and Pascal Dupuis allowed Pittsburgh to steal a 3-2 victory.
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) – Jordan Staal set up Pittsburgh's three third-period goals in the Penguins' 3-2 comeback victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.

Tyler Kennedy started the Penguins' rally with a goal at 3:18 of the third, Matt Cooke tied it at 6:48 and Pascal Dupuis scored the winner with 9:30 left.

Jordan Staal's pass bounces off the skate of Pascal Dupuis for the game-winning goal
(photo by Getty)
What Worked Well: Evgeni Malkin
It doesn’t matter what the score sheet says, Evgeni Malkin was one of the best players on the ice. Edmonton might have held him scoreless for his third-consecutive game but Malkin was flying around and through players all night. His ability to dangle with the puck in the offensive zone drew two minor penalties. The Penguins are a dangerous team when Malkin dominates like he did tonight and he appears on the verge of a MAJOR breakout – so rest of the NHL, you have been warned!

What Could Have Gone Better: Penalty Kill
The Penguins penalty-killing unit has been superb all season long. They rank 10th in the NHL with a kill rate of 82.6 percent, but they allowed Edmonton to jump out to a 2-0 lead thanks to a couple of power play goals in the second period. That marked only the third time in the past 32 games the Penguins have allowed more than one power-play goal.
You just cannot say enough about Jordan Staal and the way he is emerging as a dominant offensive player in addition to being possibly the best defensive forward in the league. Even as the Penguins struggled to find their offensive game over the first two periods it was Staal who was using his big frame to create a couple quality scoring chances – setting the stage for a huge third period for the 6-foot-4 center.

Prior to Thursday, Staal had never picked up three assists in a game in his NHL career, but he notched three helpers in the final 20 minutes against Edmonton. Staal won one-on-one battles before setting up the Penguins’ opening goal by Tyler Kennedy and the winning goal by Pascal Dupuis. His wrist shot on the Penguins’ second goal was powerful enough that Devan Dubnyk couldn’t handle it, allowing Matt Cooke to score on the rebound.
Edmonton struck first during a two-man advantage. Andrew Cogliano took a cross-ice feed from Patrick O’Sullivan, but Marc-Andre Fleury robbed his first shot with a left-toe save. However, Cogliano threw the rebound over Fleury to open the scoring. Edmonton 1, Pittsburgh 0.

The Oilers stretched their lead on another power play midway through the second period. Once again it was O’Sullivan making a pretty pass to Lubomir Visnovsky at the point. Visnovsky’s one-timer beat Fleury under the glove. Edmonton 2, Pittsburgh 0.

Jordan Staal took the puck away from the Oilers in the corner and found Tyler Kennedy standing alone on the faceoff dot in the right circle. Kennedy’s wrist shot went under the glove of Devan Dubnyk to get the Penguins on the board. Edmonton 2, Pittsburgh 1.

Staal came over the blue line and threw a low wrist shot towards the net which Dubnyk made a great toe save on. Problem was the rebound jumped right into the slot where Matt Cooke skated by to tuck the puck into the cage to tie the contest. Pittsburgh 2, Edmonton 2.

The third period belonged to Staal. He picked up his career-high third helper of the frame when he once again stole the biscuit behind the cage and slipped the puck into the crease off the skate of Pascal Dupuis, who was standing right in the blue paint, just over the goal line for what held up as the game-winning tally. Pittsburgh 3, Edmonton 2.
The Olympic Torch was in the house at Rexall Place prior to the game. Members of the Canadian Olympic team passed the torch to each other as Edmonton honored local athletes who will be representing Canada next month at the Vancouver Games. Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and center Sidney Crosby were also recognized – drawing huge cheers from the crowd.

Speaking of Fleury, the Penguins can once again thank him for being there to save the day and allowing them to make their dramatic comeback against the Oilers. Dustin Penner was sprung on a breakaway 53 seconds into the final period but Fleury dove to the ice to poke the puck from his stick before he could get a shot away. Just 45 seconds later Fernando Pisani led a two-on-one towards Fleury but the Penguins netminder stopped him as well to give the Pittsburgh offense momentum to find their offense.

Sometimes it’s the little plays which add up to bigger plays. Ruslan Fedotenko threw a shot towards Devan Dubnyk, who made the easy save to get a faceoff early in the third period. The play seemed harmless, but the Penguins controlled the puck following the ensuing faceoff and Jordan Staal setup Tyler Kennedy to get the Penguins on the board, setting the stage for the furious comeback.
> Scoring Summary:
EDM, A. Cogliano PP (5), 1:34 2nd period: Oilers 1, Penguins 0
EDM, L. Visnovsky PP (9), 11:53 2nd period: Oilers 2, Penguins 0
PIT, T. Kennedy (9), 3:18 3rd period: Oilers 2, Penguins 1
PIT, M. Cooke PP (9), 6:48 3rd period: Penguins 2, Oilers 2
PIT, P. Dupuis (11), 10:30 3rd period: Penguins 3, Oilers 2

> Pittsburgh’s 3-2 victory over the Oilers improves their overall record to 30-18-1 on the season. They continue to sit in the 4th spot in the Eastern Conference standings with 61 points. Their 30 victories are tied for third most in the NHL.

> The Penguins improved to 4-4 in the back end of back-to-back contests. Overall, they are 8-8 this season when playing on consecutive nights. They have seven sets of back-to-backs remaining, including three before the Olympic break begins on Feb. 14.

> Since head coach Dan Bylsma took over on Feb. 15, 2009 the Penguins are 48-21-5 with a 24-12-3 record on the road. They improved to 5-15-1 on the season when they trail after two periods. Only the Minnesota Wild (6) have picked up more victories when they are behind entering the third period.

> The Penguins are now 3-1 on this season-long five-game road swing after defeating Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton, and losing to Minnesota. They conclude their trip on Saturday night when they visit the Vancouver Canucks at 10 p.m.

> Jordan Staal’s three assists established a new career high. Over his past eight games Staal has picked up nine points (2G-7A). Staal now has 33 points (13G-20A) on the season, tying him with Bill Guerin for third-most on the team.

> Matt Cooke picked up his third multiple-point night of the season with a goal and an assist against the Oilers. Cooke has picked up five points (2G-3A) over the previous seven games.

> Tyler Kennedy scored a goal for the second consecutive night, giving him nine tallies on the season. Kennedy has picked up five points (3G-2A) over his last seven games.

> Pascal Dupuis’ game-winning goal gives him points in three of his past four games. Dupuis has picked up five points (2G-3A) during the stretch.

> Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his second-consecutive win between the pipes while stopping 33 of 35 shots. Fleury now has 25 wins on the season, fourth-best in the NHL.
1. J. Staal
2. A. Cogliano
3. E.Malkin
"The first two periods, we obviously didn't come
out with our best effort. We shook it off
and said we have to change
it in the third. And we did.”
- Jordan Staal


Author: Jason Seidling

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