It was a rocky road, but the Penguins would pull off a victory. After the Penguins scored three in the first period and another one a minute into the second, Edmonton, helped by the replacement of goaltender Ben Scrivens with Richard Bachman, roared back in the third period with four straight to knot the game up. The Pens would score twice in 66 seconds to take a 6-4 lead, which they would keep for the rest of the game.
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Brandon Sutter scored twice, an even-strength tally and a shorthanded goal, to help the host Penguins past the Oilers, who played the fourth of a five game Eastern Conference road trip. Sidney Crosby had a goal in the second period and a couple assists to help the Penguins in a rare high-scoring game.
One of the main reasons for Pittsburgh’s six goals was the amount of people that contributed. 11 different players contributed at least a point, including the entire fourth line. Steve Downie, who leads the NHL in penalty minutes by a long-shot, had what would be the winning goal in the game and added an assist on Sutter’s second goal. February trade acquisition Daniel Winnik had two assists, and Patric Hornqvist added an assist and the sixth goal.
The Penguins’ four goals in the first 21 minutes of the game gave them all the momentum in the world. But when Scrivens was replaced by Bachman, it was downhill from there. They were unable to get the puck past the backup goaltender, and it became only a matter of time before the Oilers took advantage of Pittsburgh’s offensive struggles. Anton Lander broke through with a power-play goal, and that was followed by Jordan Eberle’s score four minutes later. But the Penguins still had a 4-2 lead and home-ice advantage.
The Oilers didn’t care about that. They kept with their momentum and got another man-advantage goal when Benoit Pouliot got it by the stick-less Marc-Andre Fleury, whose stick was accidentally knocked away by Pens’ defenseman Paul Martin. It was bad luck for the Penguins, especially because defenseman Ben Lovejoy left Pouliot open to go and grab Fleury’s stick. But it was nothing compared to the bad luck that occurred on the tying goal.
Derek Roy would get credit for the goal, but he wasn’t the reason the puck ended up in the net. After defenseman Derrick Pouliot turned the puck over, Nail Yakupov fired a shot that was saved by the Penguins’ net-minder. When Pouliot got to the bouncing puck, which was sitting in front of the net, he attempted to sweep the puck towards the corner. But when he did, it deflected off defensive partner Ben Lovejoy. It flew upwards in the direction of Roy, whose body shifted the puck into the net. It was a goal that gave the Oilers huge momentum and the chance to take the lead. But it didn’t last long.
Downie’s goal was assisted by his fourth line mates, Nick Spaling and Maxim Lapierre. Just 1:06 later, Crosby pulled one of his sensational magic acts to set up Hornqvist for the final score of the game.
As the puck was bounced into the zone along the near-side boards, Crosby picked his stick up with one hand and lifted it above Benoit Pouliot. He then swept the puck off the boards to himself, which gave him the opportunity to thread the needle through the middle of the ice to Hornqvist, whose one-timer from the slot rocketed past Bachman.
Fleury made 25 saves on 29 shots, Bachman, who would get credited for the loss, made 19 saves on 21 opportunities. Scrivens managed only nine saves on 13 shots.
The Pens scratched winger Craig Adams and defenseman Christian Erhoff, who continues to not play presumably due to a concussion.
The Penguins’ next game is at home against the Bruins on Saturday at 1:00, and the Oilers finish their road trip in Columbus on Friday.
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