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Penguins vs. Oilers Game Preview

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins

Overall:
39-22-8-86
Home: 21-12-2-44
Road: 18-10-6-41

WHEN: March 13, 2011 - 3:00 pm   |   WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center
WATCH:
FSN  |  LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM
Edmonton Oilers
Overall:
23-37-9-55
Home: 12-19-4-28
Road:
11-18-5-27

  Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Edmonton Oilers 
 
      
Jordan Eberle
RW  -  #14
  15 Goals
  21 Assists
  36 Points
• The rookie winger leads all active Oilers with 36 points (15G-21A) through 56 games despite missing 13 games at the start of the year with an ankle injury.

• Was named the 2010 Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year after posting 106 points (50G-56A) in 57 games last season with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League.

• Was named Tournament MVP and Best Forward at the 2010 World Junior Championships, scoring 13 points (8G-5A) through eight games to make him Canada’s all-time goal-scoring leader at the tournament.
 
Andrew Cogliano
C  -  #13
  11 Goals
  17 Assists
  28 Points
• Made the Oilers’ roster out of training camp in September 2007 after two years at the University of Michigan and has played in every game since, a stretch of 315 games.

• His rookie season has been his best yet, as he tallied 18 goals and 45 points in the 2007-08 campaign.

• The 23-year-old center was drafted by Edmonton in the first round (25th overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
 
Tom Gilbert
D  -  #77
  5 goals
  19 assists
  24 points
• Has not missed a game since making the Oilers’ roster full-time in 2007-08 and is Edmonton’s resident ironman with 327 consecutive games played.

• Leads all active Oilers with an average of 24:38 minutes played per contest and ranks fourth in the league with 156 blocked shots.

• Made his professional debut in 2005-06, splitting time between Edmonton and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, where he tallied 30 points (4G-26A) in 48 games with the Penguins.
The Oilers have been struggling to pick up the pieces from their disappointing 2009-10 campaign, where they lost 521 man-games due to injury en route to finishing with 62 points – the second-lowest total in franchise history – and missed the playoffs for a fourth-consecutive season as they finished 30th in the league. The Oilers are on pace to finish in the same spot as last year, as their 55 points ranks them last in the NHL for a second-straight season.

General manager Steve Tambellini has been working on rebuilding his Oilers squad on the foundations of youth. The Oilers selected Taylor Hall with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and placed captain Ethan Moreau on waivers (who was claimed by Columbus) as well as alternate captain Sheldon Souray after the veteran defenseman requested a trade. He has played in the American Hockey League for the entire season to date.

Tambellini then sent Dustin Penner to Los Angeles on March 3 in exchange for a first-round pick in this summer’s NHL Entry Draft, a conditional second-round pick in next year’s draft and top prospect Colten Teubert. Penner had led the Oilers in scoring last season, posting career-highs in goals (32), assists (31) and points (63).

To add even more adversity to an already struggling squad, the Oilers will more than likely have to finish the 2010-11 campaign without their top-three scorers, as all got injured in a four-game span. Ales Hemsky has been sidelined since March 3 with a shoulder injury. He had been scoring at a torrid clip while healthy, notching 42 points (14G-28A) in just 47 games.

Hall then suffered a high-ankle sprain when he fell during a fight with Columbus’ Derek Dorsett on March 5 – the game after trading Penner. Hall, whose 22 goals rank first on the team, is officially out for the season. In a freak accident two contests later on March 9 against Washington, Sam Gagner sustained a cut tendon in his hand when teammate Ryan Jones inadvertently sliced him with his skate blade while hopping over the boards. Gagner had been the Oilers’ hottest player, recording eight points (3G-5A) in the last 10 games.

Their defense also experienced a shakeup when former Penguin Ryan Whitney sustained a season-ending ankle injury on Dec. 28. Whitney had been the anchor of a defensive corps that’s seen an influx of young and inexperienced players from Oklahoma City, the team’s top minor-league affiliate. He had 27 points (2G-25A) in 35 contests before being sidelined.
  • The Penguins and the Oilers faced off just once last season, with Pittsburgh skating to a 3-2 victory at Rexall Place on Jan. 14, 2010 thanks to Pascal Dupuis’ game-winning goal. Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy also scored, while Jordan Staal assisted on all three tallies. Ludomir Visnovsky and Andrew Cogliano each scored for the Oilers, both of those goals coming on the power play.
  • Edmonton’s top-three scorers who are sidelined with injuries have all been stalled at 42 points. Ales Hemsky tallied 14 goals and 28 assists before sustaining a shoulder injury on March 1; Taylor Hall notched 22 goals and 20 assists before sustaining a season-ending ankle injury on March 3; and Simon Gagner had scored 15 goals and 27 assists before a teammate’s skate severed a tendon in his hand on March 9.
  • The Penguins celebrated the franchise’s 200th consecutive sellout (including the postseason) on Saturday against Montreal. Pittsburgh has sold out each of the past four regular seasons as part of a sellout streak that began with a 5-4 shootout victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 14, 2007 at Mellon Arena. The first 165 sellouts came across the street at Mellon Arena, which had a seating capacity of 16,940. This season, including Saturday, the team has sold out all 18,087 seats at CONSOL Energy Center for each of their first 36 home games.
  • Since the sellout streak began, 3,456,219 fans have seen the Penguins in action, an average of 17,281 per game. The Penguins surpassed the three-million mark in attendance during the streak on Nov. 17, 2010 against Vancouver.
  • Through the first 200 games of the streak the Penguins have an overall record of 123-58-19 (.666 pct), including a 104-48-19 regular-season mark and a 19-10 postseason record.
  • Sunday marks the back end of the Penguins’ 15th set of back-to-back games. To date the Penguins own a 17-8-4 overall record in back-to-backs, with an 8-5-2 record the first night and a 9-3-2 mark the second night. The Penguins have two sets of back-to-backs remaining this season after this weekend.

 

      
Don’t Underestimate Them: The Oilers are in the midst of a grueling road trip that’s seen them face some of the NHL’s best teams in Philadelphia, Washington and Detroit thus far. Despite losing to the Flyers and the Capitals, Edmonton put forth one of their best efforts of the season against the Red Wings on Friday. They held Detroit, who’s tied for the league’s best offense with an average of 3.21 goals per game, to just one tally in regulation – that deflected off an Edmonton defenseman’s skate into the back of the net. The Oilers are a proud team that’s still putting forth their best effort each game despite being out of playoff contention, and the Penguins can’t underestimate those intangibles.

Cool Off Dubnyk:
Edmonton’s rookie goaltender Devan Dubnyk has been a bright spot for the Oilers, coming off arguably his best performance of the season on Friday. The netminder played out of his mind against Detroit, stopping 42 of the 44 shots the NHL’s best offense threw at him and was 24 seconds away from a shutout before Nicklas Lidstrom evened the score at 1-1 as the third period wound down. Although Dubnyk stands 6-foot-6, the Penguins need to get as much traffic as possible in front of the net, as that’s how Lidstrom’s goal found the back of the net.
.
F Arron Asham, concussion (IR)
F Mike Comrie, hip (IR)
F Sidney Crosby, concussion (IR)
F Nick Johnson, concussion (IR)
F Evgeni Malkin, torn ACL and torn MCL (will miss the remainder of the season)

D Brooks Orpik, hand (4 weeks)
F Eric Tangradi, concussion (IR)
F Sam Gagner, hand (will miss remainder of season)
F Taylor Hall, ankle (indefinitely)
F Ales Hemsky, shoulder (indefinitely)
D Theo Peckham, head (indefinitely)
D Ryan Whitney, knee (will miss remainder of season)
 
 
 
 
G
Crosby (32) Hall (22)
A
Letang (38) Hemsky (28)
PTS
Crosby (66) Three tied with (42)
PIM
Rupp (118) Peckham (153)
+/-
Crosby (+20) Whitney (+13)
PP
Crosby (10) Hall (8)
SH
Cooke (3)
Eberle (2)
W/L
Fleury (30-17-5)
Dubnyk (10-10-7)
GAA
Johnson (2.17) Dubnyk (2.75)
SVP
Johnson (.919) Dubnyk (.915)

Mark Letestu - Letestu has continued to play well since returning to the lineup on Feb. 26, notching four points (2G-2A) in his last six games. The rookie center put forth a two-point night in the Penguins’ 6-5 shootout victory over Toronto on Feb. 26 before scoring a goal and an assist in Pittsburgh’s 3-1 win over Buffalo on March 8. And when Letestu is rolling, so are the Penguins. Pittsburgh owns a 10-1 record when Letestu scores a goal and a 17-1 mark when he records a point.
 
Ryan Jones - Jones has two goals in his last four games, with his last one coming on Friday when he notched the lone goal in Edmonton’s gritty 2-1 overtime loss to Detroit. Jones played a season-high 24:50 in that game, recording three hits and four shots on goal. The 26-year-old forward, who was claimed off waivers by the Oilers on March 3, 2010, has been thriving in his first full NHL season. He’s notched 15 goals through 63 games and is tied for second on the team with 120 hits.
 
 
 
 

Fan Guide vs. Edmonton
Aftermath: Canadiens 3, Penguins 0
Pens' Game vs. Edmonton Sunday Starts at 3 p.m.
Eye of the Tiger
What the Penguins Are Saying About the 200th Straight Sellout
200 and Counting...
Penguins Report: 3/11/11 
The French Connection 

If this widget fails to load, click here to read latest PghPenguins Tweets.

WHEN: March 13, 2011 - 3:00 pm
WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center
WATCH: FSN
LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM



SCOUTING REPORT

The Oilers have been struggling to pick up the pieces from their disappointing 2009-10 campaign, where they lost 521 man-games due to injury en route to finishing with 62 points – the second-lowest total in franchise history – and missed the playoffs for a fourth-consecutive season as they finished 30th in the league. The Oilers are on pace to finish in the same spot as last year, as their 55 points ranks them last in the NHL for a second-straight season.

General manager Steve Tambellini has been working on rebuilding his Oilers squad on the foundations of youth. The Oilers selected Taylor Hall with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and placed captain Ethan Moreau on waivers (who was claimed by Columbus) as well as alternate captain Sheldon Souray after the veteran defenseman requested a trade. He has played in the American Hockey League for the entire season to date.

Tambellini then sent Dustin Penner to Los Angeles on March 3 in exchange for a first-round pick in this summer's NHL Entry Draft, a conditional second-round pick in next year's draft and top prospect Colten Teubert. Penner had led the Oilers in scoring last season, posting career-highs in goals (32), assists (31) and points (63).

To add even more adversity to an already struggling squad, the Oilers will more than likely have to finish the 2010-11 campaign without their top-three scorers, as all got injured in a four-game span. Ales Hemsky has been sidelined since March 3 with a shoulder injury. He had been scoring at a torrid clip while healthy, notching 42 points (14G-28A) in just 47 games.

Hall then suffered a high-ankle sprain when he fell during a fight with Columbus' Derek Dorsett on March 5 – the game after trading Penner. Hall, whose 22 goals rank first on the team, is officially out for the season. In a freak accident two contests later on March 9 against Washington, Sam Gagner sustained a cut tendon in his hand when teammate Ryan Jones inadvertently sliced him with his skate blade while hopping over the boards. Gagner had been the Oilers' hottest player, recording eight points (3G-5A) in the last 10 games.

Their defense also experienced a shakeup when former Penguin Ryan Whitney sustained a season-ending ankle injury on Dec. 28. Whitney had been the anchor of a defensive corps that's seen an influx of young and inexperienced players from Oklahoma City, the team's top minor-league affiliate. He had 27 points (2G-25A) in 35 contests before being sidelined.


INTERESTING STATS

* The Penguins and the Oilers faced off just once last season, with Pittsburgh skating to a 3-2 victory at Rexall Place on Jan. 14, 2010 thanks to Pascal Dupuis' game-winning goal. Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy also scored, while Jordan Staal assisted on all three tallies. Ludomir Visnovsky and Andrew Cogliano each scored for the Oilers, both of those goals coming on the power play.

* Edmonton's top-three scorers who are sidelined with injuries have all been stalled at 42 points. Ales Hemsky tallied 14 goals and 28 assists before sustaining a shoulder injury on March 1; Taylor Hall notched 22 goals and 20 assists before sustaining a season-ending ankle injury on March 3; and Simon Gagner had scored 15 goals and 27 assists before a teammate's skate severed a tendon in his hand on March 9.

* The Penguins celebrated the franchise's 200th consecutive sellout (including the postseason) on Saturday against Montreal. Pittsburgh has sold out each of the past four regular seasons as part of a sellout streak that began with a 5-4 shootout victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 14, 2007 at Mellon Arena. The first 165 sellouts came across the street at Mellon Arena, which had a seating capacity of 16,940. This season, including Saturday, the team has sold out all 18,087 seats at CONSOL Energy Center for each of their first 36 home games.

* Since the sellout streak began, 3,456,219 fans have seen the Penguins in action, an average of 17,281 per game. The Penguins surpassed the three-million mark in attendance during the streak on Nov. 17, 2010 against Vancouver.

* Through the first 200 games of the streak the Penguins have an overall record of 123-58-19 (.666 pct), including a 104-48-19 regular-season mark and a 19-10 postseason record.

* Sunday marks the back end of the Penguins' 15th set of back-to-back games. To date the Penguins own a 17-8-4 overall record in back-to-backs, with an 8-5-2 record the first night and a 9-3-2 mark the second night. The Penguins have two sets of back-to-backs remaining this season after this weekend.


KEYS TO THE GAME

Don't Underestimate Them: The Oilers are in the midst of a grueling road trip that's seen them face some of the NHL's best teams in Philadelphia, Washington and Detroit thus far. Despite losing to the Flyers and the Capitals, Edmonton put forth one of their best efforts of the season against the Red Wings on Friday. They held Detroit, who's tied for the league's best offense with an average of 3.21 goals per game, to just one tally in regulation – that deflected off an Edmonton defenseman's skate into the back of the net. The Oilers are a proud team that's still putting forth their best effort each game despite being out of playoff contention, and the Penguins can't underestimate those intangibles.

Cool Off Dubnyk: Edmonton's rookie goaltender Devan Dubnyk has been a bright spot for the Oilers, coming off arguably his best performance of the season on Friday. The netminder played out of his mind against Detroit, stopping 42 of the 44 shots the NHL's best offense threw at him and was 24 seconds away from a shutout before Nicklas Lidstrom evened the score at 1-1 as the third period wound down. Although Dubnyk stands 6-foot-6, the Penguins need to get as much traffic as possible in front of the net, as that's how Lidstrom's goal found the back of the net.


WHO'S HOT

Mark Letestu - Letestu has continued to play well since returning to the lineup on Feb. 26, notching four points (2G-2A) in his last six games. The rookie center put forth a two-point night in the Penguins' 6-5 shootout victory over Toronto on Feb. 26 before scoring a goal and an assist in Pittsburgh's 3-1 win over Buffalo on March 8. And when Letestu is rolling, so are the Penguins. Pittsburgh owns a 10-1 record when Letestu scores a goal and a 17-1 mark when he records a point.

Ryan Jones - Jones has two goals in his last four games, with his last one coming on Friday when he notched the lone goal in Edmonton's gritty 2-1 overtime loss to Detroit. Jones played a season-high 24:50 in that game, recording three hits and four shots on goal. The 26-year-old forward, who was claimed off waivers by the Oilers on March 3, 2010, has been thriving in his first full NHL season. He's notched 15 goals through 63 games and is tied for second on the team with 120 hits.


Author: Michelle Crechiolo
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