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Recap: Star light, star bright. McDavid sinks Penguins

Connor McDavid’s goal and three assists help carry the day for the Edmonton Oilers as they defeat the Penguins 5-2

Pittsburgh Penguins v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images


Same lines, lineup and goalie for the Penguins as the previous game.

First period

Early on, it’s the Brian Dumoulin-Kris Letang pair against Connor McDavid, which means that Marcus Pettersson-John Marino are seeing a lot of the little old, NHL leading scorer with 20G+20A in 20 games, Leon Draisaitl.

The Oilers open the scoring 6:52 into the game. Zach Hyman carries Edmonton on the rush, Zack Kassian ends up setting a moving screen on Letang that trapped the defender to the outside. Dumoulin was directing traffic and coverage was fine until Letang got picked, leaving Hyman skating into wide open ice. He shot back across Tristan Jarry and beat the goalie to make it 1-0.

Pittsburgh would battle back to tie the game soon after. Sidney Crosby wins the offensive zone draw against Draisaitl and John Marino fired a cross-ice pass to Jake Guentzel. Guentzel’s shot goes off the defender and past Mikko Koskinen. 1-1 game.

The tie wouldn’t last long, as McDavid made a terrific and super-quick play to collect a loose puck using his skates to kick ahead. In a heartbeat it went from no problem to, hey, the Oilers have a 2-on-1 with the puck on McDavid’s stick. Uh oh. McDavid passes over for Hyman who has a slam dunk goal for his second of the evening. 2-1 Edmonton.

The Pens survive the game’s first two penalties in this period as well, with the league best PK holding off the powerful Oiler stars.

Shots in the first are 11-6 Pittsburgh. Scoreboard aside, it was a pretty decent period for the Pens, but their guard slipped for a few seconds and the mighty offense of Edmonton was able to take advantage with ease.

Second period

One minute in, the Pens tie the game at 2. Both teams are in the middle of changes, which helps Pittsburgh get a 3-on-2 rush. Evan Rodrigues, who had not yet changed, was able to freeze the goalie with a deke. Rodrigues changed the angle on Koskinen by bumping a pass over for Teddy Blueger who shot to the blocker side. Tie game courtesy of Blueger’s sixth goal of the season.

The Pens get their first power play when William Lagesson clears the puck over the glass, but they don’t score. In fact, they give up a clean breakaway against, but Jarry does his thing and holds them in the game to prevent Hyman from getting a hat

Jarry totally buys the Pens a power play when he feels the slightest contact from Tyler Benson and takes a slow dramatic fall from it. Pittsburgh gets some zone time but no goal.

Period comes to an end, and though it’s tied, a lot of good things for the visitors. Shots are 15-7 in the second, and Pittsburgh has doubled up Edmonton 26-13 in shots so far. The attempts are also off the charts good for the Pens.

And yet, the score is tied.

Third period

Early into the third, Edmonton strikes again. Kailer Yammoto deflects a Tyson Barrie point shot and the Pens are in a hole again with 17:17 remaining.

Letang is back to the box on a weak slashing call that was pretty low and looked more like a sweeping stick check attempt. The Pens’ defenseman none to pleased with the refs for that call (but when is he ever?)...The Oilers’ power play is short-changed when Hyman gets called for interference after his pick on Marcus Pettersson spills the Penguin.

More McDavid wizardry puts the Pens in a 4-2 hole. A quick up pass leads to a 4v4 2-on-1 and McDavid puts a great pass for his third assist of the game. It’s Evan Bouchard with a tap in.

Hyman appears to complete his hat trick to make it 5-2 as the game slips away further from the Pens with 8:35 left. Another McDavid assist is in the works, until Mike Sullivan stops the game and challenges for off-side. Sullivan and Andy Saucier are right, it’s off. Back to 4-2 and a lot of hats rained down on the ice for nothing.

Pens pull the goalie, looking to find more 5v6 magic. None to be found tonight, besides with Connor McDavid. He taps it into the empty cage. 5-2 after all.

And that is it as the game winds down to the finish.

Some thoughts

  • It’s late, so these will be brief...It’s now up to an 11-game point streak for Guentzel, whose middle name is consistency. Probably.
  • Noticed twice in the first period the RH shot of Rodrigues was taking the faceoffs at ES for Crosby on the right side of the ice. Tracking Crosby faceoffs is one of those things that stands out to me.
  • Connor McDavid must be terrifying to play against. His speed, acceleration and explosion doesn’t make sense. And, of course the kicker is that his hands are as good as his feet to keep control of the puck while doing all of it. Like all the greats, he looks effortless at playing in ways that players just shouldn’t be able to play. Just a super-impressive player to watch, and he brings it every single game.
  • After the great second period didn’t result in a lead, and Edmonton went ahead early in the third, it seemed like a lot of the air went out of the balloon for the Pens, so to say. There’s been a lot of travel to play a 4th game in six days in four different cities. And, overall, this was the 13th game in a stretch of 13 games in just 23 days. That’s a lot of puck. This team can use the two day break they’re about to have. The first part of December is pretty favorable too, with just two games in the next eight days.

So that will be that. Pens go 0-1-1 in Alberta but can still salvage the Western trip with perhaps more winnable games coming up against Vancouver and Seattle.