The Pittsburgh Penguins’ three-game winning streak came to an end Saturday night, as the Edmonton Oilers defeated them 4-3 in overtime.
Receiving goals from James Neal and Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh had a 2-0 lead heading into the third period, only to relinquish the advantage by giving up two tallies from Oilers’ forwards Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall.
Despite surrendering a pair of goals, Pittsburgh was given a power play almost immediately after the Oilers’ tied it up, and defenseman Kris Letang buried his eighth goal of the season to rekindle the lead. The goal was scored via a four-on-3 power play.
However, with 1:59 left on the clock, defenseman Anton Belov scored the equalizer for the Oilers. A rising shot from the point, Belov was able to beat Pens’ goaltender Jeff Zatkoff blocker side, and eventually send the game into overtime.
With 24 seconds left in regulation, forward Brandon Sutter was assessed a two-minute minor for slashing Oilers’ defenseman Justin Schultz, giving Edmonton 1:36 of time in bonus hockey to have a four-on-three advantage. Unable to clear the puck, Schultz fed it over to forward Jordan Eberle, who crossed it back to Nugent-Hopkins in front of the net and gave Edmonton the victory.
The overtime loss was only Pittsburgh’s second of the season, and have now won five of their last seven contests. Zatkoff, who made 27 of 31 saves on the night, lost his first game since Oct. 25 against the New York Islanders, and ended his seven-game winning streak.
A rather sloppy contest in terms of penalties and turnovers, Pittsburgh definitely didn’t have their A-game. Piling up 15 giveaways on the night, the team only had four takeaways, and committed 12 penalty-minutes. Although the Pens were still able to pull away with a point, they arguably should’ve had two, especially against the second-worst team in the NHL.
Crosby’s goal in the second period extended his point streak to seven games, and was the first tally he’s scored against Edmonton in his career. The assist he added on Letang’s goal also gave him two consecutive contests with multiple points. He now has 67 points (25G, 42A) and increased his NHL scoring lead to 13 over Chicago’ forward Patrick Kane. Crosby ranks second in both goals and assists in the NHL.
Neal’s goal extended his point streak to five games, and has given him six in those five contests. He is now averaging 1.38 points-per-game and has skated to a plus-8 in the past five tilts.
Malkin’s assist on Neal’s goal gives him 46 points (12G, 34A) on the season, and is also riding a five-game point streak. While defenseman Matt Niskanen logged an assist as well, and ranks second in the NHL with a plus-23 rating (tied with teammate Chris Kunitz).
The Pens’ next game will be against another underachieving team, the Calgary Flames, tomorrow, at 10 p.m. Following that tilt, Pittsburgh won’t play again until next Wednesday.