The Penguins were disappointed with the result of their 3-0 loss to Montreal on Saturday afternoon.
But 24 hours later, the Penguins flipped the script and handed the Edmonton Oilers a 5-1 defeat at CONSOL Energy Center Sunday afternoon with an impressive 60 minutes of play.
The Penguins banded together, getting contributions throughout the lineup to pick up the win and improve to 20-7-2 in their last 29 home games.
Ten different Penguins recorded a point, with Chris Kunitz (2G), Jordan Staal (1G-1A), Maxime Talbot (1G-1A) and Tyler Kennedy (3A) notching multiple points. Even defenseman Zbynek Michalek, who just scored his first goal in 91 games two contests ago, chipped in a goal.
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who was pulled in Saturday’s game, bounced back with a strong performance. He stopped 28 of 29 shots in the contest to pick up his 31st win of the season.
Pittsburgh looked much better in its execution from the previous afternoon. Their positioning was better, their passes were on target and their attack was persistent. The Penguins scored five goals, but could have been closer to double digits with the opportunities they created.
The Penguins’ star player award goes to the team’s entire defensive corps.
Pittsburgh was forced to play the game shorthanded – with only five blueliners – after Matt Niskanen was unable to play due to illness (flu).
The group banded together, rotating with each other in pairings. Kris Letang led the way with 25:37 minutes of ice time, followed by Paul Martin (24:11), Zbynek Michalek (22:02), Ben Lovejoy (20:42) and Deryk Engelland (15:00).
The group combined for two points (1G-1A) and a plus-6 on the afternoon, while holding the Oilers to one shot in the first period and one goal in the game.
The Penguins found themselves in a tough position in the final three minutes of the first period in a scoreless game. After Alex Kovalev was assessed a penalty for holding the stick, 14 seconds later Paul Martin was whistled for cross checking, giving the Oilers 1:46 worth of a two-man advantage.
Pittsburgh put together a remarkable effort in not only holding Edmonton off the scoreboard, but the Oilers didn’t even register a shot on goal. The Penguins blocked shots, got in passing lanes and won loose puck battles to successfully kill off the penalties.
Less than a minute later, Chris Kunitz scored to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead.
(AP) - Chris Kunitz scored two goals, Tyler Kennedy added three assists, and the Pittsburgh Penguins moved to within three points of the Eastern Conference lead by beating the Edmonton Oilers 5-1 on Sunday.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves one day after being pulled during a loss to Montreal, Max Talbot and Jordan Staal each had a goal and an assist, and Zbynek Michalek also scored for Pittsburgh, which reached 40 victories (40-22-8) for the fifth consecutive season.
- Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen was a late scratch with the flu. The team was forced to dress only five defensemen and 13 forwards.
- The Penguins win today gives them a 40-22-8 record. Pittsburgh has hit the 40-win plateau each of the past five seasons.
- Chris Kunitz scored two goals against Edmonton. The Penguins are 36-15-4 with him in the lineup, 13-2-1 when he scores a goal and 23-4-1 when he records a point.
- Zbynek Michalek scored his second goal in the last three games, after scoring only once in the previous 91 contests.
- The Penguins have won four straight games against the Oilers, and are 8-2-1 overall against Edmonton since 1999-2000.
- The Penguins are 8-3-1 in their past 12 home games. During that span they have surrendered a total of just 19 goals for a 1.57 goals-against average.
- The Edmonton contest was the back end of Pittsburgh’s 15th set of back-to-back games. The Penguins have an 18-8-4 overall record in back-to-backs, with an 8-5-2 record on the first night and 10-3-2 mark the second. The Penguins have two remaining back-to-backs this season.
#1. Chris Kunitz
Left Wing - 14
1 PP goal
#2. Tyler Kennedy
Right Wing - 48
#3. Jordan Staal
Center - 11
1 goal, 1 assist
Author: Sam Kasan