Breakdown: Game 13 – Penguins 2, Oilers 1

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By: @chetstead


The Penguins’ streak of strong defensive play continued in Edmonton.

The Pens left Rexall Place with another win on goals by Kessel and Sprong.

Connor McDavid broke his clavicle in a game against the Flyers, but the Oilers are stocked with young talent. Despite that, Edmonton only mustered one goal tonight.

Shortly before game time, news came out that Pascal Dupuis was in the hospital.

Duper’s had relatively quiet season thus far, but I don’t think it’s an accident that the team’s play significantly improved when he returned to the ice. The Penguins have only lost one game this season in which Dupuis played.

Jeff Zatkoff in goal.


First period

Crosby nearly scored on his first shift. Kicked the puck to his stick and almost deked Nilsson.

Seconds later, the Oilers let Letang just waltz into their zone and take a shot. The open ice in the opening minutes made it look like this would be a shootout.

The Oilers’ organ player went with some Emerson, Lake & Palmer. More hockey teams should bring the organ back

Plotnikov took ANOTHER penalty, an interference call. Luckily, Taylor Hall slashed the stick out of Scuderi’s hands. Dumb penalty, but evidence of the mental issues that have prevented Hall from being a bigger star thus far in his career.

On the ensuing four-on-four, Perron rang a shot off the crossbar. Good shift by Perron and Kunitz there.

Once the Plotnikov penalty ended, the Pens had a brief powerplay. Some good stuff there, including a lighting-quick one-timer by Hornqvist, but no goals.

Seeing Matt Cullen’s #7 in the defensive zone made me feel a brief pang of nostalgia for Paul Martin.

Crosby was looking locked in, nothing like the beginning of the season. Cole dumped a garbage pass to the Oilers’ blue line and Crosby kicked it around the defender and turned it into an offensive zone possession.

Sprong tried to skate past Eric Gryba with the puck and got absolutely plastered into the boards.

Bennett was getting a little too fancy, looking to pass when he really should have been shooting. Bonino made a good drop pass but Bennett decided not to shoot it.

Hendricks went off for hooking Scuderi, the second penalty Scuderi was able to buy in this game.

Moments after Crosby passed up a good shooting opportunity, he took a slapshot and Hornqvist was able to put the rebound behind Nilsson.

But wait!

The Oilers challenged the Pens’ zone entry, saying the Penguins were offsides when they crossed the blue line. The goal was overturned. Hornqvist’s skate lifted off the line just before Kessel took it into the zone.

The powerplay went back in time to the moment when the Penguins should have been called offsides. This time, the Pens couldn’t score. The period ended with the game still scoreless.


Second period

Malkin’s line got trapped in the offensive zone and the puck came out to Oscar Klefbom. Klefbom skated down the left side untouched and ripped a slapshot past Zatkoff from the top of the circle. Penguins second period slump in full effect.

Nugent-Hopkins made a sweet move in front of Zatkoff and almost gave the Oilers a two-goal lead.

Lots of back-and-forth hockey with more Oilers’ chances.

Then, out of nowhere, the puck found Sprong all alone in the slot. Sprong wasted no time, one-timing the puck past Nilsson. This time, no challenge to overturn the goal. Plotnikov made the pass to Sprong to set up the goal.

Sid tried to split the Oilers’ defense and failed, then dropped an F-bomb so loud the Root Sports mics picked it up.

The Pens went on a powerplay. Letang made a nice play, blocking a pass on a shorthanded two-on-one. Decent puck movement by the top unit, but no goal.

Hall, swooping around the Pens’ zone, set Draisaitl up for a one-timer. It almost certainly would have been a goal, but Draisaitl’s stick snapped in half. Lucky break for the Pens.

Plotnikov took a puck to the teeth at the end of the period. Ouch.


Third period

More of the same to start the third period. Pens with a few early chances.

Dumoulin was having another solid game. Ian Cole blocked a Draisaitl shot and limped off the ice. Maatta got run over by Hendricks.

Other than some more good puck possession by the Pens’ third line, the first half of the third passed without much happening.

Perron very nearly had a goal on a great pass from Malkin. Nilsson tripped Perron to prevent Perron’s shot. The Pens went on the powerplay.

Just seconds into the PP, Kessel took a hard shot that hit a defender in the hand and fluttered into the goal. Hornqvist with a good screen, though he didn’t put a stick on it. 2-1 Pens.

Nail Yakupov rang one off the post. The bounces were going the Pens’ way with five minutes remaining.

Bonino has some underrated faceoff skills. I didn’t see the stats, but it sure seemed like he was winning 75% of his draws in this games.

Ian Cole flipped one right over the glass to give the Oilers a powerplay with four minutes left. The Penguins’ PK unit kept the puck away from Zatkoff, but Draisaitl hit the post just a couple seconds after the penalty ended.

Benoit Pouliot flung a puck out of the corner at Zatkoff and celebrated like he’d scored, getting the crowd to cheer despite the fact that the goal light never went on. No goal, not even close.

The Oilers went empty net with a minute and a half left. Oilers coach Todd McClellan called a timeout with less than a minute remaining. Zatkoff had to make another good save on Klefbom. That would do it.

Penguins play next in Calgary.