Who: Pittsburgh Penguins (10-7-5, 25 points, 4th place Metropolitan division) @ Edmonton Oilers (15-5-0, 30 points, 2nd place Western division)
When: 10:00 p.m. eastern
How to Watch: TNT nationally in America, Sportsnet in Canada (wow, a national TV partner showcasing a Crosby vs. McDavid matchup — what a novel concept!)
Opponent Track: The Oilers have won a nice and tidy three games for every one loss over the season so far, and, wouldn’t you know it, that’s been exactly the case in their previous four games with three wins and one loss. Edmonton has had quite a few days off, they haven’t played since last Saturday (a 3-2 regulation road win in Vegas).
Pens path ahead: Up next is finally a mini-break for the Pens, who have two days off in a row for the first time since Nov 7+8 when they are off tomorrow and Friday. The road trip then continues over to Vancouver on Saturday and the Pens will see the expansion Seattle Kraken for the first time next Monday, December 6th. After that, the boys come back east, but stay on the road to finish out their road trip in DC against the Caps on Friday December 10th.
Season Series: The Oilers make their annual trip to Pittsburgh deep in the season on April 26th (your humble author’s birthday!). That will be Game 81 out of the 82 on the season for the Pens.
Random fact: Pittsburgh is currently in the midst of a 19-game unbeaten streak versus the Oilers (15-0-4) dating back to December 5, 2007, which is also the longest such streak against Edmonton in franchise history. (h/t Pens PR)
SBN Team Counterpart: Check out the Copper ‘n Blue for all the Oliers news you can get out there.
—When looking at the Oilers’ stat sheet, it’s impossible not to marvel at the two brightest offensive stars in the NHL galaxy right now that are lighting up the horizon. McDavid has won the Art Ross trophy (scoring title) in three of the last five seasons, and the two years he hasn’t won it, he’s finished in second place in the league in scoring. Draisaitl won the Art Ross this year. Draisaitl and McDavid are 1 and 2 in points/game this year.
Help a brother out
Our friend Gretz had a great tweet thread about what happens to Edmonton when the big two of Draisaitl and McDavid aren’t on the ice, and it’s not a pretty picture. In fact, it’s really, really bad. (You have to, and should, click on these to see the full field)
Here are the worst-10 teams.— Adam Gretz (@AGretz) November 27, 2021
Look at Edmonton. pic.twitter.com/u1uOqF3ojn
The data is a few days old, but recent enough to draw conclusions. Only Chicago is worse. When Edmonton don’t have at least one of Draisaitl and/or McDavid on the ice at 5v5 play, they have score 11 goals this season, and have given up a whopping 25. The Pens have been at the other end of the spectrum:
Going back to the start of last season the Penguins have outscored teams 105-77 (+28) when neither Crosby or Malkin is on the ice during 5-on-5 play. It is a shockingly deep team. As long as the goaltending does not have another meltdown they can still go far. https://t.co/V8CNlQ7YCM— Adam Gretz (@AGretz) November 27, 2021
The good news for the Oil is that No. 97 and No. 29 are good enough to drag this team to a winning record and gives them a chance to win almost every night. That’s going to happen when you have to players at/near a whopping 2 points per game each. But the depth and quality around them in Edmonton is still a major issue.
Monday Practice Lines*
Zach Hyman - Connor McDavid - Zach Kassian
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Leon Draisaitl - Kailer Yamamoto
Warren Foegele - Ryan McLeod - Jesse Puljujarvi
Derek Ryan centering rotation of four wingers on 4th line (Colton Sceviour, Kyle Turris, Brendan Perlini, Tyler Benson)
Kris Russell / Tyson Barrie
Phillip Broberg / XXXXXXX XXXXX
William Lagesson/ Evan Bouchard
Possible Starting Goalie: Mikko Koskinen (Stuart Skinner backup)
Scratches: Some of those forwards mentioned above from the fourth line
IR: Duncan Keith, Darnell Nurse, Slater Koekoek, Devin Shore, Oskar Klefbom (LTIR), Mike Smith (LTIR), Josh Archibald (LTIR), Alex Stalock (LTIR)
COVID Protocol: Cody Ceci
—*The caveat and change you could probably see the need for explanation is the X’s above in the lineup. They represent where Cody Ceci was on Monday. By Tuesday he was in COVID protocol, with the Oilers cancelling practice as a precaution for Ceci’s positive test. Youngster Markus Niemelainen has been recalled and will slot into the lineup somewhere. Bummer that a reunion is avoided with Ceci playing against the Pens for the first time out the window.
—Duncan Keith also got moved to the IR yesterday, so it’s tough times on the blue-line right now with Nurse and Klefbom also missing from the lineup right now.
And now for the Pens..
Tuesday Practice Lines
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Evan Rodrigues
Jason Zucker - Jeff Carter - Kasperi Kapanen
Zach Aston-Reese - Teddy Blueger - Brock McGinn
Danton Heinen - Sam Lafferty - Dominik Simon
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson / John Marino
Mike Matheson / Chad Ruhwedel
Probable Starting Goalie: Tristan Jarry
Scratches: Mark Friedman, Drew O’Connor, Brian Boyle (injury)
IR: Evgeni Malkin (knee), Bryan Rust
Sid and Connor meet again
Some stats and notes from the Pens’ PR department about the latest Crosby vs. McDavid showdown with Sid facing off against the next legend who is a decade is younger.
It’s the battle of generational talents, as Sidney Crosby takes on Connor McDavid in the eighth head-to-head matchup of their careers. Although McDavid has the edge in points, 10 to four, Crosby and the Penguins are a perfect 7-0-0 dating back to their first matchup on November 8, 2016. Six of the seven games have been one-goal contests and four have required overtime. Below is a look at the Crosby and McDavid’s head-to-head stats:
Player GP G A PTS GWG +/-
Sidney Crosby 7 2 2 4 1 Even
Connor McDavid 7 3 7 10 0 -1
Today’s game will be McDavid’s 428th NHL game. The two have compiled very similar stats through the first 427 regular season games of their respective careers.
Player GP G A PTS Team Record
Sidney Crosby 427 219 378 597 223-157-47 (.577 Points %)
Connor McDavid 427 209 410 610 218-175-34 (.550 Points %)