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Penguins/Oilers Recap: Pittsburgh saves a point with late goal, but Mike Smith saves the rest

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Edmonton goalie Mike Smith makes 51 stops and the Oilers skate away with a 2-1 OT win against the Pens

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

For a game featuring Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Leon Draisaitl, among others, of course the only two goal scorers in regulation would be a guy in the AHL until a few days ago (Colby Cave) and a defensive defenseman scoring short-handed (Brian Doumoulin).

Just like expected.

But that’s hockey sometimes. The Pittsburgh Penguins controlled much of the game (shots through regulation were 51-22 in favor of the Pens) but goalie Mike Smith played a tremendous game keeping Pittsburgh off the scoreboard until Dumoulin scored short-handed with under 7 minutes remaining in the game.

The Oilers had scored earlier, in the second period, when Cave dipped his shoulder and drove past Marcus Pettersson then beat Matt Murray.

Murray wasn’t nearly as busy as Smith was, but still played well. His stop on McDavid and Draisaitl on a 2-on-1 in the third period probably secured a point on the day to keep the Pens close.

That was about all McDavid and Draisaitl did during regulation though, as the Pens’ top line and top pair defense of Dumoulin and Kris Letang did a masterful job to keep Edmonton’s big guns quiet at even strength throughout the day.

But then overtime happened and Draisaitl found more room to operate, after a near scoring chance by Letang went wide and the play quickly went out the other way.

The Pens get out of the game with just one point in the standings, a bit of a disappointment considering they played very well, but they just couldn’t crack Smith on this day.

Three final thoughts

Power play woes continue. The streak of games without a power play goal is up to eight now for the Pens. Pittsburgh went 0-for-5 with the man-advantage today, including getting the first four of the game. It’s big missed opportunities and actively hampering the team right now to keep coming up dry on the power play. Coach Mike Sullivan is pretty upbeat about things:

“From my vantage point, the only thing that’s missing right now is finish,” Sullivan said after the game. “We’re generating opportunity. If we weren’t, it would be a different matter. As I said to our players, we can’t get discouraged.”

They can’t be discouraged, and it was only Malkin’s first game back, but an 0-for-5 day in a close, low scoring game always hurts.

Return of the Malk. Speaking of Geno, the big guy was back today and looked from afar to be pretty fresh and healthy coming off a soft tissue injury in his leg. Malkin had six shots on goal (and nine total shot attempts), a pair of takeaways, a hit and a 50% game in the faceoff circle. It was good to get him back and see the team at full health for a first time on the season.

Sometimes it bes like that. Mike Smith was really good. The Pens were good enough all-around to win this game today; they totally took away and overwhelmed two of the best offensive players in the game for 60 minutes. 5v5 scoring chances overall were 26-14 in favor of the Pens. High danger chances were 13-5. Pittsburgh carried the play, the other goalie was up to the challenge. Sometimes you gotta tip your cap and move on.