|Ah, the 1980's: when goals were scored and mullets flowed like sweet, sweet wine|
The Pens had defeated the Oilers 2-0 back on February 4th, with Marc-Andre Fleury notching the shutout and Evgeni Malkin and Oiler-defector David Perron scoring Pittsburgh's two goals.
Edmonton's numerous high draft picks- and zero post-season success to show for them- have made the Oilers the anti-model for rebuilding via lottery picks (see: Chicago, Pittsburgh).
Malkin and Crosby entered the night with 67 points, trailing the New York Islanders' John Tavares by 5 for the Art Ross Trophy (scoring title).
First Period Action:
It's easy to forget that the Edmonton Oilers were once the definition of hockey royalty: not only did they rattle off five championships in seven years, they also featured "the Great One," Wayne Gretzky.
In the summer of 1988, Oilers owner Peter Pocklington would trade Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings in a pure money move (a tactic the Pittsburgh Penguins would later employ when trading away Jaromir Jagr and Alexei Kovalev).
|The 2014-15 Edmonton Oilers Team Photo|
Edmonton's ineptitude would be on display early when, following a Nick Spaling penalty for interference, Brandon Sutter would score a short-handed goal with his apparently unstoppable backhand breakaway move to put Pittsburgh up 1-0.
The pace of the first period was lethargic, and the Oilers' only real scoring chance came off the stick of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, one of the few players in white, orange and blue that seemed to care/try.
|Admit it: Brandon Sutter Makes for a Passable Hockey Savior|
When Brandon "the Savior" Sutter (!) scored his second goal of the game (!!), the Penguins were no longer pouring salt onto a wound: they were making a hydrogen peroxide, salt, and bleach solution and injecting it directly into the veins of the Oilers.
Russian sniper Nail Yakupov (also known as the "Enigmatic" Nail Yakupov, because that's how the hockey media passive aggressively criticizes hockey players from Russia) had a chance to cut into the deficit following a carom off of the end boards, but he missed the open net behind Fleury.
Minutes later, former Oiler David Perron would victimize his former team (...again) off of a feed from within Gretzky's Office (behind the net), courtesy of the Penguins' captain, Sidney Crosby.
Edmonton would get their second power-play of the night following a careless Chris Kunitz slash, but once again the Oilers could do nothing with the opportunity.
Despite not scoring, the ice began to tilt in favor of the Oilers, and they controlled play for the final four minutes of the opening stanza.
As the horn sounded, Pittsburgh led in goals, 3-0, and in shots on net, 12-5, but the Oilers had actually generated more scoring chances (7) than shots (5) in the process.
Second Period Action:
Derek Roy took a tripping penalty early in the second period, and the Oilers are so bad, even the Penguins' power-play scored on them.
Sidney Crosby would notch his 23rd goal of the season on a one-time slapper, and thus ended the night of Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens, who finished with a D+ save percentage of .692.
New netminder Richard "I'll Be" Bachman was immediately put to the test, as Sidney Crosby rang one off the post, and Perron nearly squeezed one home, but Bachman kept the shot out.
Fleury made a number of saves through traffic to maintain his shutout, and Brandon Sutter somehow missed on his Juggernaut backhander and remained one tally shy of his first career hat-trick.
Ben Lovejoy would put Edmonton back on the powerplay, and the Oilers wound finally end Fleury's streak of dominance when Anton "Moon" Lander was left unmarked by Rob Scuderi and knocked home his own rebound from right in front.
The Pens would answer with sustained pressure, but Jordan Eberle would find a loose puck and backhanded a shot past the Flower to suddenly make the contest a two-goal affair.
Edmonton rifled 16 shots on net during the second period, and while Pittsburgh was still ahead on the scoreboard, the Pens were clearly playing back on their heels against a suddenly potent Oiler attack.
Third Period Action:
Steve Downie was sent off for hooking early in the third period, and perhaps because the Penguins knew the LA game nearly gave me a coronary from stress, Pittsburgh's penalty killers failed to contain the always dangerous Benoit Pouliot (dangerous against the Pens, at least), and suddenly Bachman was only one Edmonton goal away from being the goalie of record.
Bachman would, naturally, become the goalie of record when the Penguins' defense conveniently "cleared" (and I use that term loosely) a Fleury rebound directly off of Derek Roy's body and into the twine behind #29.
|...yeah, I agree, this was a lot of work for a throwaway joke.|
Four nothing. 4-0. A freaking four goal lead against one of the NHL's premier struggling franchises. In Steeler-speak, this was akin to losing to the Cleveland Oranges, and the lackluster defensive effort had Ike Taylor's name all over it.
Steve Downie would thankfully remind the hockey faithful that his stick could be used for more than tripping and hooking, and the Pens' pugilist put his team back on top with a slick rebound goal.
Not long after, Sidney Crosby would once again set up Patric Hornqvist from Gretzky's Office to put the Pens back up 6-4. Crosby made the entire play happen by forcing a turnover, spinning off a check, and finding Hornqvist unmarked in the high slot.
The assist was Crosby's third point of the night, and put #87 a mere two points behind John Tavares in the scoring race.
Anton Lander would be sent to the box after tripping Malkin, and Pittsburgh had the chance to get Brandon Sutter his hatty. Malkin found Sutter in the slot and Sutter got decent wood on the wrister, but Bachman closed the wickets in time.
Pittsburgh wouldn't score on the power-play, but Pittsburgh would pick up the win and 2 points to inch them closer to first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Final score: Pittsburgh 6, Edmonton 4.