G63 Game Notes: Edmonton Oilers face Pittsburgh Penguins looking to snap losing streak

Photo credit:Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
1 month ago
1. The Edmonton Oilers started this four-game road trip with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday but have dropped back-to-back games to non-playoff teams since.
They lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 4-2 on Thursday and then fell 3-2 in a shootout to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. On Sunday, they’ll face the Pittsburgh Penguins looking to finish off the trip with two wins and two losses.
2. The Penguins were in Edmonton last week and the Oilers hammered them by a score of 6-1. The Oilers had played the Kraken in Seattle the previous afternoon while the Penguins played the late game on Hockey Night in Canada against the Calgary Flames the night before.
Like last weekend, Edmonton and Pittsburgh will both be on the second leg of a back-to-back when they play each other on Sunday. The Penguins played in Boston on Saturday afternoon and the Bruins cruised past them with a 5-1 win.
3. Pittsburgh has a 28-26-8 record on the season and they’re going to miss the playoffs for just the third time since Sidney Crosby entered in the NHL in 2005-06. The team missed the playoffs by just one point last season but they’ve taken a step back in 2023-24 and sit 13th in the Eastern Conference standings, eight points out of the final Wild Card spot.
The biggest issue for the Penguins this season has been depth scoring. Crosby leads the way with 32 goals and Jake Guentzel, who was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes ahead of Friday’s deadline, is the only other Penguin to have passed the 20-goal mark. Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust both have 18 goals and the next player on the list is Lars Eller with 12 goals.
There are a handful of middle-six wingers on the Penguins who simply haven’t lived up to expectations this season offensively. Rickard Rakell, Reilly Smith, and Jeff Carter cost the Penguins $13.125 million against the salary cap the have combined for only 28 goals.
4. The Penguins have allowed the ninth-fewest goals against this season, though the team has been struggling to keep the puck out of their own net lately. Alex Nedeljkovic allowed five goals on 23 shots in Pittsburgh’s loss to Boston on Saturday and Tristan Jarry allowed four goals on 22 shots in the team’s previous loss to the Washington Capitals.
Since Nedeljkovic started on Saturday, the Penguins will go with Jarry against the Oilers. The former Edmonton Oil King has a .908 save percentage across 43 games this season and an .856 save percentage in four games against the Oilers in his career.
The Oilers started Stuart Skinner in Buffalo on Saturday, so they’ll go back to Calvin Pickard in Pittsburgh. Pickard stopped 22 of 23 shots in Edmonton’s win over the Penguins last weekend and has a .909 save percentage over 13 appearances this season.
5. After dropping two winnable games on this road trip, the Oilers need to capitalize on a struggling Penguins team and pick up two points. There are 20 games left in the regular season left for the Oilers to climb the standings ahead of the playoffs.
The Vancouver Canucks and Vegas Golden Knights both won on Saturday while the Los Angeles Kings lost in regulation. The Oilers are 12 points behind the Canucks for the top spot in the Pacific Division with four games in hand and they’re four points up on both the Golden Knights and Kings with games in hand on both.

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