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Instant Reaction: Oilers cruise past Penguins with 6-1 victory to extend winning streak to four games

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Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
The three-game losing streak is in the rearview mirror now, as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins for their fourth consecutive win.
With the win on Sunday night, the Oilers move to a 37-20-2 record for 76 points, three ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights and nine behind the Vancouver Canucks. Moreover, they have four games in hand on the Canucks and two in hand on the Golden Knights, so winning the division is still well within reach.
Through nearly three quarters of the first period, the game was held in a stalemate until about six minutes left in the period. Leon Draisaitl swatted the puck ahead to Connor McDavid with a Penguin defenceman pinching, leading to a 2-on-1 and a pass over to Zach Hyman for his 41st goal of the season.
Up one and heading into the second period, this is where the Oilers took over the game. Early in the second, the Oilers had another odd-man rush as Warren Foegele chipped it off the wall, catching a Penguin defenceman pinching. Corey Perry gave it to Ryan McLeod and eventually got it back on the side of the net for his fourth goal as an Oiler.
Hyman picked up his second of the night and 42nd of the year off a faceoff. Evan Bouchard slap passed it over to Draisaitl, who one-touched it to Hyman who beat his defender and deposited the puck into the gaping net. What a great signing Hyman has turned out to be. Scoring 60 goals is potentially within reach.
After a penalty shot miss, the Oilers had a cycle going with their third line, and as the puck came to Evander Kane, he gave it to Brett Kulak who found McLeod all alone to Alex Nedeljkovic’s right. Instead of forcing a pass across, McLeod did the smart thing and banked it off Nedeljkovic for his first goal since January 20.
It wasn’t too long before the Oilers found the back of the net again, as Warren Foegele found Cody Ceci who came in by the faceoff dot and beat Pittsburgh’s netminder with a wrist shot for his second goal of the season. Interestingly, the Oilers switched up their defence pairings and put Kulak and Ceci together, with the latter picking up his second assist of the game on this goal.
Captain McDavid also got in on the action, as Draisaitl made a nice move at the blue line and ripped the puck off Nedeljkovic’s pad, giving McDavid a juicy rebound to bury for his 23rd goal of the season. McDavid has matched the number of points on the back of his sweater and sits eight points behind Nikita Kucherov for the Art Ross leader.
Unfortunately, the Oilers weren’t able to give Calvin Pickard his second shutout of the year, as an odd bounce found its way to Evgeni Malkin, who was all alone in front of the net. Not anyone’s fault, just an unlucky play. That was the only goal that the Pens would manage, though, as the Oilers cruised to a 6-1 win. 

INSTANT REACTION PRESENTED BY BETWAY


Things worth mentioning…

Calvin Pickard had a nice bounce-back game. In his last outing, Pickard allowed three goals on 19 shots in a loss to the Minnesota Wild and had a personal six-game winning streak snapped. After Stuart Skinner started four games in a row, Pickard got back into the net and stopped 23 of 24 shots in the win over the Penguins. Pickard unfortunately had his shutout bid ended in the third period by Evgeni Malkin but it was still a very strong performance.
Zach Hyman scored Edmonton’s opening goal in the first period and he extended their lead to 3-0 later in the second frame. He now has 42 goals on the season and could realistically challenge for not only 50 goals, but 60 as well. Hyman’s career-high in goals when he signed with the Oilers in the summer of 2021 was only 21 and it’s increased to 27 and 36 and now 42 and counting.
Connor McDavid picked up an assist on Hyman’s first goal and scored a goal of his own in the third period, giving him two points on the night. The captain now has an 11-game point streak with two goals and 24 assists over that stretch.
Ryan McLeod scored his 10th goal of the season in the second period to put the Oilers up by a score of 4-0. After not scoring his first goal of the season until late November in his 22nd game of the season, McLeod has scored 10 goals in 37 games since.
With the win, the Oilers are now three points up on the idle Vegas Golden Knights in the standings. Edmonton also has two games in hand on the defending Stanley Cup Champions. In first place in the Pacific Division are the Vancouver Canucks. The Oilers trail them by nine points but have four games in hand.
Up next… The Oilers will head out on a four-game road trip against Eastern Conference teams. They’ll start in Boston on Tuesday, head to Columbus on Thursday, and then they’ll play a weekend back-to-back in Buffalo on Saturday and Pittsburgh on Sunday.

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