GDB 63.0: Oilers looking to get back in the win column in rematch with the Penguins (11:00am MT, SNW)

Photo credit:Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
4 months ago
Remember when the Oilers and Penguins met up at Rogers Place just a week ago? Our boys took charge, delivered a lopsided 6-1 win, and wrapped up what ended up as a perfect weekend. Today, as we gear up for the rematch, the Oilers will look to repeat their triumph and hand the Penguins another swift kick to the shin while they’re down. Get ready, folks. It’s game day.
What a weird weekend it’s been. Yesterday, the boys had us all up bright and early for a morning matchup in Buffalo, and we’ve got another one just over 24 hours later today in Pittsburgh. Americans love daytime sports, don’t they? My body and brain needed a minute to get going for this morning’s GDB, and I can only imagine what it must be like for the players.
My own gripes aside, I see no reason why we shouldn’t be celebrating another win over Pittsburgh. I don’t know if it’ll be another 6-1 blowout like we got last Sunday at Rogers Place, but the Pens are a team that the Oilers need to beat at this stage of the season. The Penguins are on their way to a second straight season out of the playoffs, and I think it would be good for all of us if the Oilers pick up another win and help them get there.
Despite a killer season from Sidney Crosby, not much else has worked out for the Penguins this year, and those struggles present an opportunity for an Edmonton team looking to get themselves back in the win column. Besides, it’s always fun to watch Connor McDavid go up against Sid, regardless of the stakes or the standings.
No better off than what we saw a week ago, the Pittsburgh Penguins continue to struggle as they limp their way down the stretch. Despite a stellar season from Sidney Crosby — Sid has 32 goals and 64 points in 62 games — the Penguins haven’t had much go their way and are actually on track to miss the playoffs for a second straight season. That’s a big deal when you remember it’s never happened in Crosby’s 19-year career.
Yesterday’s loss in Buffalo was especially painful, given how well the boys started that hockey game. Up by two goals before the game was 15 minutes old, the table was set for a big Oilers win only to have the team cough up their advantage because of missed opportunities and a special teams loss. Edmonton went from having a 2-1 lead with 20 minutes to play to actually losing twice in extra time — it was a whole thing — and that’s a tough pill to swallow, given where the Sabres are at in the standings.
Needless to say, the Oilers will need to be much better against the Penguins. Seeing as both teams are playing in the second half of a back-to-back weekend and both sides are coming off tough losses, this could be one of those games where the club that makes the fewest mistakes ends up winning. That presents an opportunity for the Oilers, provided that they can clean up some of the mistakes that sunk their ship yesterday.
If the Oilers can sort out those details, then there’s no reason we shouldn’t be celebrating two more points on the pile. If they can’t, Edmonton will find themselves on another three-game losing streak, with the added insult that this one would come at the hands of three teams that are currently outside the playoff picture.
Let’s see what the numbers say…


LAST 10 GAMES5-3-24-5-1
POWER PLAY%26.215.0
AVG. SHOTS/FOR33.433.1
TEAM SAVE%.912.916
CORSI FOR%55.4752.05
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)
  • Adam Henrique leads all active Oilers in career games against the Penguins (38) while Evander Kane leads in career points (30) versus Pittsburgh.
  • The Oilers and Penguins met last Sunday at Rogers Place and won big thanks to multi-point efforts from Leon Draisaitl (3A), Zach Hyman (2G), Connor McDavid (1G, 1A), Ryan McLeod (1G, 1A), Warren Foegele (2A) and Brett Kulak (2A).
  • Corey Perry has seven points (5G, 2A) in 18 games as an Oiler, which puts him one point shy of becoming just the 125th player in NHL history to reach 900 points in their career.
  • Since Kris Knoblauch took as head coach, the Oilers’ 35 wins rank 2nd most in the NHL and just one back of the Florida Panthers who have played three more games. Additionally, the Oilers rank 5th in penalty killing (82.6%), 6th in GA per-game (2.61), 4th in power play (27.0%), and 3rd in GF per-game (3.69) since Knoblauch’s arrival.



Oilers ***UPDATED***

Nugent-Hopkins – McDavid – Hyman
McLeod – Draisaitl – Foegele
Kane – Henrique – Brown
Janmark – Ryan – Perry
Ekholm – Bouchard
Nurse – Desharnais
Kulak – Ceci
I’ll be curious to see if Kris Knoblauch will make any changes to his lineup after yesterday’s loss, apart from giving Calvin Pickard the start. With a second straight matinee on deck, we’re not going to get any lineup notes until the team takes the ice, so I’m just carrying over what the line combos were from yesterday’s game against the Sabres.
Update: Derek Ryan draws in for Sam Carrick. We also got Connor Brown jumping up to the third line with Kane and Henrique while Perry slots in on the 4th line with Ryan and Janmark.


Bunting – Crosby – Rakell
Smith – Malkin – Puustinen
Bemstrom – Eller – Puljujarvi
Gruden – Acciari – Carter
Joseph – Letang
Pettersson – Karlsson
Graves – Ruhwedel
Last week, the Penguins opted to start Nedeljkovic between the pipes, but that will not be the case for today’s rematch. Nedeljkovic played yesterday against the Bruins, which means Tristan Jarry will get the start. If you remember, Jarry scored a goal for the Pens earlier in the season, and I hope that’s not too intimidating for Connor Brown, who is still looking for his first of the season.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers won by five goals last week, but we’ll have to settle for a 4-2 win in round two.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Zach Hyman picks up goal 44th on the season, further contributing to his record as the best free agent signing of all time.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Adam Henrique picks up the game-winner in the third period, and I couldn’t think of a better time for him to score his first as an Oiler.

Check out these posts...