Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 3-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place.
* To help get the Pens out of their current funk, head coach Mike Sullivan is going back to an old formulat. It's the one he used when he first arrived in Pittsburgh in December of 2015. At that time, the Pens had little confidence and many faults in their game. Rather than try to fix everything at once, he used a step-by-step approach. Focus on one thing at practice or in a game. As the team mastered that, he incorporated another detail while all along preaching that the team "embrace the process."
Sullivan is once again preaching to his team to embrace the process. Tonight, their emphasis was on winning puck battles with cooperative efforts. The team won a majority of those battles and was a big reason for Pittsburgh's success.
* For better or worse, the Penguins-Oilers matchups will always be known as Sidney Crosby vs. Connor McDavid. Tonight was the fourth installment of the unspoken rivalry. And Crosby holds a perfect 4-0 edge on McDavid. It may all be media fodder, but it does keep things entertaining.
* Crosby and McDavid didn't disappoint. McDavid made one of the sickest individual moves I've seen in years when he deked the puck through the skates of Olli Maatta, then made a backhand pass through Kris Letang and onto the tape of Leon Draisaitl. It was an easy tap-in for Draisaitl. McDavid did all the work.
Not to be outdone, Crosby also made a highlight reel setup late in the second period to tie the game at 2-2. Crosby was working with Conor Sheary on a 2-on-1. The Pens captain made a perfect backhand pass that slid by the outstretched stick of Adam Larsson and right to Sheary. He buried for the tally.
* Matt Murray got some of his swagger back against the Oilers. He was very impressive against Edmonton's first power-play opportunity of the game, making not one, not two, big three big stops to keep Edmonton off of the board. Murray's best stop was when he stretched out his pad to make a split save on Zack Kassian's shorthanded breakaway. But his point-blank stop on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with two seconds left in the game wasn't too bad either.
Murray was pulled in his previous appearance after allowing four goals on nine shots against Winnipeg. He always seems to play his best following a bad game. Murray had the bounce back the Pens needed tonight, and shut things down once the Pens got a late third-period lead.
* The Pens power play connected for two goals in the contest, the second goal proving to be the game-winner. Pittsburgh has now scored at least one power-play goal in all nine road games this season.
The Penguins, who have struggled to score 5-on-5 this season, have relied heavily on their power play to win games. And the unit came through again with a clutch pair of goals. The two man-advantage goals were the difference in the game.
The only blemish was their failure to score on 1:42 minutes of a 5-on-3.