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Penguins / Oilers game preview

The Pittsburgh Penguins are finally back home and take on the Edmonton Oilers tonight

Chris LaFrance-USA TODAY Sports

Back from the West, the Pittsburgh Penguins face the lowly Edmonton Oilers tonight.

The Oilers sit in last place in the Western Conference with only 47 points on the season, just 3 more than a Buffalo team that's actively attempting to be historically bad. Edmonton are losers of their last 5 games, having failed to win a hockey game since February 24th. They're only 8-18-9 on the road this season as well, and have a -75 goal differential.

By all accounts they're pretty bad, but still show some signs of life from time to time. Last week they took Chicago to a 1-1 game and into a shootout in Chicago, so if they can do that there, they can't be totally overlooked. Taylor Hall remains out, so the Oilers really only have 2 dangerous players in the lineup- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (19g +24a in 65 games) and Jordan Eberle (16g + 32a in 66 games). If those guys can be minimized, aside from Nail Yakupov and Ted Purcell, the Oilers don't look much different than an AHL team.

Another potential warning sign for the Penguins is the cliche of the dreaded "first home game after a long road trip" with the story going that players, excited to be home and with their families may not be as sharp or focused in their first game back. Add in a team that really has no business beating them, and this has all the makings for a trap game for the Penguins, if they don't come out the gates with a strong start this could be concerning.

That aside, wanted to point out that former Pen Rob Klinkhammer scored his 1st goal as an Oiler in their last game, his 26th with Edmonton. Klink also has 2 assists but signed a contract extension so they must like him up there. Good for him, after bouncing around so much he deserves a little stability.

Check out The Copper & Blue for the Oiler side of things. It wasn't so long ago that the Pens franchise was in disarray, so it's easy to sympathize with fans in a seemingly hopeless situation of a bad team that doesn't have a ton of hope for the future, barring a big change or a lucky bounce in the lottery.