Who: Edmonton Oilers (31-19-8, 70 points, 4th place Pacific Division) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (27-20-9, 63 points, 5th place Metropolitan Division)
When: 7:00 p.m.
How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet Pittsburgh for the Pens’ viewing market, SNE, SNO, SNW TVAs in Canada, ESPN+
Opponent Track: This is the first game of an Eastern road trip for Edmonton, but they just hosted the Flyers on Tuesday night. Shockingly, the Oilers only had 10 shots on goal through 40 minutes and were losing 2-1 to the Flyers before waking up at the second intermission. Edmonton scored three times in the third period (one goal from Leon Draisaitl and then two from Connor McDavid, naturally enough) to leave Philly in the dust for a 4-2 win. Prior to that game, Edmonton had lost three straight games — all in extra time and are just 1-1-3 in their last five.
Pens Path Ahead: Coming off a two day break, the schedule is about to heat up for the Penguins who are embarking on a stretch of six games in a 10 day that starts today. After tonight, it’s a weekend afternoon game in St. Louis (3:30pm eastern) and then a home game on Sunday against Tampa before a Southern road trip next week takes the Pens to Nashville, Tampa and Florida.
Season Series: Pittsburgh has already played in Edmonton way back in October, where they lost an early 3-1 lead en route to a 6-3 loss. Remarkably, McDavid did not have a point in the game (Draisaitl touched the Pens up for three).
Hidden Stat: In all-time games played @Pittsburgh, Connor McDavid has nine points (2G+7A) in five games. Four points (1G+3A) came in the game in PA last season....On the flip side, for his home games vs Edmonton since 2015-16 (when McDavid entered the NHL), Sidney Crosby only has two points (0G+2A) in six games.
Getting to know the Oilers
SBN partner blog: Copper n Blue
Tuesday Game Lines
Zach Hyman - Connor McDavid - Kailer Yamamoto
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Leon Draisaitl
Warren Foegele - Ryan McLeod - Mattias Janmark
Devin Shore - Derek Ryan - Jesse Puljujarvi
Darnell Nurse / Cody Ceci
Brett Kulak / Tyson Barrie
Philip Broberg / Evan Bouchard
Goalies: Stuart Skinner or Jack Campbell
Scratches: Evander Kane (injury), Klim Kostin (ill)
IR: Oskar Klefbom, Mike Smith, Ryan Murray
—The Oilers are in cap hell right now and an absolute roster mess right now. They had to play two games last week with just 17 skaters dressed instead of the normal compliment of 18 due in part to a nasty flu bug that swept through the locker-room and picked off players from their already bare bones crew. Over the weekend, they only had one healthy goalie for a game with Skinner too sick to sit on the bench as backup. They’ve got players yo-yo-ing to and fro the AHL as some go on and off the IR in order to fit under the cap. It’s an absolute managerial gongshow out there with a cap structure that features players on IR who haven’t played since 2020 (Klefbom), buyouts (James Neal), retained salary (Milan Lucic) highlighting the wasted space and scars of bad decisions from days gone by.
—Last game they were at 11 forwards and seven defenders, but presumably that could be different tonight if they get some recoveries in the last few days.
Get ready for the show
we've seen connor mcdavid do some insane things with the puck, but this might be one of his best. my lord. pic.twitter.com/rwWKsLhwTa— zach (@zjlaing) February 22, 2023
Now in his draft+8 season, Connor McDavid hit 800 points on Tuesday against Philadelphia and then went ahead and tacked on 801 and 802 in the same period. Those 802 points (and counting) in coming in 545 games. At a similar point, after his draft+8, Sidney Crosby had 665 points in 470 games. A lot of that is Sid’s injuries in the 2011 and 2012 days (McDavid’s played almost an extra full season), but the accomplishments Crosby is getting now could be written in sand if McDavid continues on for another decade as making his claim as the best player in the modern era.
As seen above, McDavid can operate at a level that no one else can touch right now. In some ways, it’s like he’s playing a video game and he’s the only player who knows where the turbo button is. Probably worth the price of admission alone to see what he might try and pull off tonight.
—What McDavid is doing is truly insane — he’s well on his way to a fifth Art Ross trophy in just his eighth season and became only the fifth player in league history to score six 100+ point seasons at age 26. (You might have heard of the others: Gretzky, Lemieux, Orr, Dale Hawerchuk). In the salary cap era, no player has scored more than Nikita Kucherov’s 128 points, which looks like only a matter of time before McDavid will surpass that. In the past 30 years only one player has scored 150+ points in a season (Mario Lemieux, who did it twice in this time period in 1992-93 and 1995-96), McDavid is on pace to join him.
—Goalies are hilarious but maddening considering that Jack Campbell started the year as the starter, brought in for big money on a long contract. Skinner, 24, had been more of a minor league hand to this point. But Campbell has fallen flat on his face and been a terrible addition, leaving Edmonton to turn to Skinner to basically save their season. He’s been up to the challenge so far. Another remarkable story proving that yet again, nobody knows anything when it comes to projecting the futures of goalies.
And now for the Pens...
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Rickard Rakell
Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust
Brock McGinn - Jeff Carter - Kasperi Kapanen
Drew O’Connor - Teddy Blueger - Josh Archibald
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson / Jeff Petry
P.O. Joseph / Chad Ruhwedel
Goalies: Tristan Jarry (Casey DeSmith)
Scratches: Danton Heinen, Mark Friedman (upper-body injury), Ryan Poehling (injury)
IR: Jan Rutta
—Pettersson and Petry were absent for practice. Turns out Pettersson has a baby on the way nice timing for the team to be at home this week, that worked out well considering the travel schedule from last week and next week. Petry was sick and sent away, so we’ll see if he can play. Both Rutta and Friedman look relatively close to returning if not.