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Aftermath: Penguins 5, Oilers 4

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  Therrien | Crosby | Sykora | Satan | Cooke | Highlights
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  Photos | Recap (AP)
Pittsburgh held off an Oilers surge to hang on for a 5-4 victory at Mellon Arena on Thursday night. The Penguins jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, thanks to Miroslav Satan and Petr Sykora netting two goals each, and looked like they would cruise to victory. However, the pesky Oilers chipped away at the lead to pull within one goal halfway through the third period. But the Penguins buckled down and hung on to pick up two points in the game.

Satan notched his first goal with a phenomenal play, getting a rebound from behind the net and shooting with his stick between his legs. The Penguins extended the lead to 2-0 when Max Talbot scored his first shorthanded goal of the season. Sidney Crosby and Talbot had a 2-on-1 break. Crosby’s shot rebounded right to Talbot’s stick and he buried it. Satan notched his second goal of the night and team-leading eighth goal of the season when he scored off of an Evgeni Malkin shot on the power play. Sykora scored two goals within 1:39 of each other in the second period. First he scored off of a great faceoff win and pass from Malkin in the Oilers zone. Then he tapped in an easy rebound off of another Malkin shot for a power-play goal.

The Oilers ended the shutout with 1:27 left in the second period when Fernando Pisani scored. The first half of the third period was all Edmonton. They scored two quick goals, 28 seconds apart, from Tom Gilbert and Ales Hemsky to make it a 5-3 game 3:25 into the period. Pittsburgh failed to score on a five-minute major penalty, including two full minutes worth of a 5-on-3 advantage. Oilers defenseman Sheldon Souray stepped out of the penalty box and had a breakaway after collecting the puck in the neutral zone. His backhander sailed over Marc-Andre Fleury’s shoulder to make it a one-goal game. But Pittsburgh held on in the final 10-plus minutes of play to get the win.

            Sidney Crosby and Petr Sykora scrambled for a loose puck behind Oilers goaltender Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers (photo by Getty)
What Worked: Passing
Pittsburgh made clean, tape-to-tape passes throughout the game. As a result, their breakout and transition game enabled the Penguins to be one-step ahead of the Oilers. Edmonton spent a lot of time chasing Penguins players in their own zone. They created a lot of chances with their puck movement and their passing led directly to a goal with an extra attacker on a delayed penalty.

What Didn't Work: 5-on-3 Advantage
Pittsburgh worked on a five-minute major power play, including two full minutes with a 5-on-3 advantage. The team hit two posts and allowed a shorthanded goal to Sheldon Souray at the expiration of his roughing penalty. Pittsburgh was leading 5-3 at the time and was railing after two quick Oilers goals. The power play was a chance to reestablish the lead and gain momentum, but in the end, only pulled Edmonton closer.
Evgeni Malkin recorded his second three-point night of the season with three assists against the Edmonton Oilers. Two of his assists came on shots from the blue line. With an extra attacker on the ice due to a delayed penalty call, Malkin sent a shot from the point deliberately wide of the net. The shot/pass went right off of Satan’s stick and into the goal. On a second occasion, Malkin’s blast from the blue line on a power play was stopped by Oilers goaltender Mathieu Garon. The rebound caromed right to Sykora, who directed it into the vacant net. Malkin’s best play of the night came at 11:24 of the second period. He won on a faceoff in the Oilers zone and sent the puck forward. Malkin shifted around Sam Gagner and sent the puck towards the slot to Sykora, who converted the one-timer.

Malkin has notched at least a point in 12 of Pittsburgh’s 13 games this season and is currently riding a nine-game scoring streak. Malkin increased his league leading scoring total to 21 points (4G-17A), two ahead of Washington’s Alexander Semin. Malkin also has the most assists in the league with 17.
It was almost another ugly result with another blown lead. Instead of cracking under the pressure, Pittsburgh stepped up its game and took the play to the Oilers in the final 10 minutes. They played loose and stayed responsible in their own zone. The game shouldn't have been close, but the Penguins held on for the win and that’s the bottom line.

Talbot is meshing well with Crosby. The two had a nice give-and-go setup in the first period. Crosby led the rush and dished to Talbot. Talbot centered it back and Crosby had a point blank shot that was stopped by Mathieu Garon. The two would convert on a shorthanded opportunity late in the first period. Crosby pushed the puck along the wall past Lubomir Visnovsky and had a 2-on-1 break with Talbot. Crosby took a shot and the rebound came right to Talbot, who didn’t miss the opportunity.

Talbot had one of his best games of the season. He was flying all over the ice, creating scoring opportunities and causing problems for the Oilers power play. He was aggressive on the penalty kill, forcing the Oilers to make quick decisions. When he gained puck possession, he would skate it deep into the Oilers zone and eat away at the power-play time.

Satan scored his team-leading seventh and eighth goals of the season. On his first goal sequence, Satan had a few shots in front of the net that were denied. He then sent the puck to Ruslan Fedotenko in the slot. Fedotenko fed it back to Brooks Orpik, who took a shot from the point that ricocheted behind the net. Satan snatched it behind the net, slid the puck on his stick through his legs and sent it towards the net. The puck sneaked through Garon’s legs. With the second goal, he set up to the right of Garon. Malkin sent a slap/pass his way, and he re-directed the puck into the net.

Petr Sykora netted his first two-goal game of the season. He converted a one-timer in the slot on a great faceoff win and pass from Malkin. Sykora converted a Malkin slap shot rebound for a power-play goal. Sykora has never registered a hat trick in his career. He does have 37 career two-goal games, most ever by an NHL player without a hat trick.

I really like what I see from Crosby on the PK. Obviously, he did a great job of creating offense with the shorthanded goal but he also was responsible in his positioning and wasn’t afraid to apply pressure on opponent’s power play.

Eric Godard and Steve MacIntyre became good acquaintances in the game. Both men dropped the gloves early in the first period. Godard got in a few shots and landed a knockout punch. MacIntyre was cut and had to leave the ice to be attended to. But their tangle didn’t end there. Kris Letang was skating the puck out of his zone and sent a pass forward when MacIntyre nailed him at full speed. Letang fell to the ice and skated slowly to the bench. Godard went after MacIntyre in defense of his teammate. The linesmen intervened. Godard ended up with an unsportsmanlike penalty, but definitely respect from his teammates. Letang was shaken up but returned to the game.

Great puck movement on a delayed penalty led to Pittsburgh’s third goal. The Penguins played keep away with an extra attacker in the second period. Edmonton couldn’t gain possession, even after Pittsburgh registered a couple of shots. The Oilers were tired out from skating around in their own end. Malkin sent a slap shot to the right of the goal and Satan re-directed it into the net.

The Penguins fifth goal ended Garon’s evening. The Oilers pulled him at the 13:03 mark in favor of Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers. JDD stopped all 14 Pittsburgh shots he faced and kept the Oilers in the game.

Ales Hemsky made a great individual play to score his fourth goal of the season. He poked the puck free from Rob Scuderi and had a semi-breakaway. Scuderi got back into the play to force him wide. Hemsky started to skate behind the net but at the last minute turned the puck over and sent a backhand shot over the goal line.

Matt Cooke was a one-man demolition team on a series in the third period. First he nailed Tom Gilbert along the boards. Then he took out Sam Gagner at center ice with a hard check. His physical play drew the ire of Edmonton’s Theo Peckham, who dropped his gloves and blindsided Cooke. Pittsburgh got a five-minute major power play as a result of Cooke’s efforts. Cooke and Peckham continued their verbal charades while in the penalty box.

For not meeting that often in the regular season, there was no love lost between these two teams. Frustrations boiled over during Pittsburgh's five-minute power play after Sheldon Souray gave Jordan Staal a glove to the face. Both teams came together for a scrum in front of the net. Edmonton had another penalty tacked on with the shenanigans.

In a series of unfortunate events, the Penguins failed to score on a 5-on-3 opportunity. Pittsburgh twice hit the post. The Oilers cleared the puck as Souray exited the box and he had a breakaway on the Pittsburgh goal. Souray sent a quick backhander over Fleury’s shoulder to cut the Penguins lead to 5-4.

The Oilers gave Pittsburgh one final scare when they won a faceoff in the Penguins zone with 1.2 seconds left. The Oilers sent a quick shot towards that Fleury knocked down. A rebound shot sailed wide. Game over. Sound the horn. Pens win.
> Pittsburgh improved to 7-4-2 on the year, with a 4-1-1 mark at Mellon Arena.

> Miroslav Satan opened the scoring with a nifty goal at 9:14 of the first period. Max Talbot extended the lead with his first shorthanded goal at 15:58 on a Sidney Crosby rebound. Satan added his second goal of the game at 7:05 of the second period to give Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead. Petr Sykora scored back-to-back goals to give the Penguins a 5-0 lead. He scored off of a faceoff win and setup from Evgeni Malkin at 11:24. Then Sykora knocked in a Malkin rebound on a power play at 13:03. The Oilers ended the shutout bid with 1:27 left in the second period when Fernando Pisani scored. Edmonton scored two goals 28 seconds apart early in the third period. Tom Gilbert scored at 2:57 of third period. Ales Hemsky’s great individual effort led a goal at 3:25 to cut the lead to 5-3. Sheldon Souray scored a shorthanded goal after collected the puck in the neutral zone after stepping out of the penalty box at 8:59.

> Pittsburgh outshot the Oilers, 34-31.

> Evgeni Malkin recorded three points against Edmonton. He’s registered at least one point in 12 of Pittsburgh’s 13 games this season, and currently has a nine-game scoring streak. During that streak he’s compiled 18 points (3G-15A).

> Malkin is the NHL’s leading scorer. Following his three-point night at Edmonton, he now has 21 points on the season, with four goals and 17 assists. His 17 assists are also a league best.

> Satan scored his team-leading seventh and eighth goal of the season. He currently has a three-game goal scoring streak. It’s the second time this season he’s registered a goal in three straight games. He also leads the team with four power-play goals.

> The Penguins registered their 73rd consecutive sellout with 16,971 in attendance. The sellout streak dates back to the 2006-07 season.
1. Petr Sykora, PIT
2. Miroslav Satan, PIT
3. Ales Hemsky, EDM
"It's two points. Nobody's going to ask in March where
you got those two points."
- Petr Sykora


Author: Sam Kasan

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