Game Notes Oilers @ Penguins: One Last Hurrah?

Photo credit:© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
1 year ago
The Pittsburgh Penguins are the active leader in consecutive playoff appearances with 16. Washington and Nashville are next with eight, and all three teams could miss the postseason this year. The Penguins have been on a slide for seven weeks and will try to get back on track tonight v. the Edmonton Oilers.
— The Penguins are in a fight for their playoff lives.
The Penguins are 8-9-3 in their last 20 games. Only Washington (7-12-1), among the seven teams battling for the two wildcard spots, has been worse since January 1st.
— The Penguins do have the best overall P%, and with five and four games in hand on the Islanders and Panthers respectively, the Pens are still in a decent spot, but Detroit and Buffalo are pushing, and the Penguins need a win. They’ve lost three in a row, including two to the Islanders, which tightened the gap in the wildcard race significantly.
—  Since January 1st, the Penguins are 23rd in points%, they are 22nd in goals/game (2.95), 25th in goals against/game (3.40), 13th on the PP (19.7%) and 28th on the PK at 74.6%. They are having a rough seven weeks, but with Sidney Crosby on the roster they are still dangerous. Edmonton has to match their desperation.
— Crosby leads the Penguins with 25-43-68. He is 14th in league scoring at age 35 and on pace for 99 points. He has a legit chance to reach 100 points for the seventh time in his career, which would tie him with Mike Bossy and Peter Stastny for fourth all-time. The Penguins problem is they don’t have any young forwards producing points. Their only forwards 25 years and under are Ryan Poehling (5-6-11 in 38 games) and Drew Connor (3-2-5 in 22 games). Kasperi Kapanen is 26, but he’s struggled and is on Frank Seravalli’s recent Trade Target board.
— Jake Guentzel is 27 and has been a very productive player for years, but the Penguins haven’t been able to develop any young complementary forwards while Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are in their mid 30s. You know Crosby and Malkin won’t go quietly, but they will need a solid final 26 games to extend their playoff streak to 17 games.
— The Oilers aren’t guaranteed a playoff spot, though they are five points ahead of ninth place Calgary, but they are focused more on what is in front of them than behind. They are three points back of first-place Vegas in the Pacific Division, two behind LA, and one back of Seattle. The Oilers need these two points. Edmonton has the fifth-best record in the NHL since January 1st (20 games) and the second-best over their last 16 at 10-1-5. They blew leads v. the Rangers and Colorado, but for the most part they have played quite well the past seven weeks.
— The Oilers are 4-1 since 2019 v. the Penguins. They’ve won both games in Pittsburgh and outscored the Pens 20-12. McDavid has produced 2-6-8 and Leon Draisaitl has 2-4-6 in those five games. Bryan Rust leads the Penguins with 1-2-3. Edmonton has done a good job limiting Crosby who has scored 1-1-2 in four games. Malkin has 0-2-2 in four games.
— Stuart Skinner played only his fourth game in a month on Tuesday v. the Flyers. I wonder if rust was a factor on the first goal. But he was excellent in the third period and giving him the net tonight makes sense. Get him back in a regular rhythm.
—  I love obscure stats. Connor McDavid recorded his 19th career three-point period in the third after being scoreless through 40 minutes. Sidney Crosby (24), Alex Ovechkin (21) and Patrick Kane (20) are the only active skaters with more.
— McDavid also tied Wayne Gretzky for the second most game winning goals in Oilers history. They each have 61, and McDavid needs 12 to pass Glenn Anderson who has the most in franchise history with 72.
— McDavid is also closing in on setting a new franchise mark for most power play points in a season. Gretzky holds the record with 57 points in 1982. He also had 54 in 1986 and 1983 and 53 in 1981. McDavid has 51 with 24 games remaining. He will break the franchise record and will be the ninth player in NHL history with 60+ power play points.
— Mario Lemieux holds the NHL record for PP points in a season with 80. He’s also second, third and fourth with 79, 79 and 66. Here are those ranked fifth to 11th in PP points.
Paul Coffey 64 with Pittsburgh in 1989.
Pat LaFontaine 63 with Buffalo in 1993.
Al MacInnis 63 with Calgary in 1991.
Adam Oates 62 with Boston in 1993.
Denis Savard 62 with Chicago in 1988.
Sidney Crosby 61 with Pittsburgh in 2007.
Wayne Gretzky 61 with LA in 1994.
McDavid is on pace for 72 PP points, which would make him only the second player in NHL history to reach that mark.


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