Crosby, Pens Stay Unbeaten at Home
PITTSBURGH – Evgeni Malkin’s power-play goal 7:20 into the third period put the Pittsburgh Penguins in front for good and the Penguins stayed hot at home with a 3-2 victory against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night.
Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz also scored for Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby assisted on all three Penguins goals to vault him into the NHL scoring lead. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 20 shots for Pittsburgh to improve to 5-0 on the season.
Ales Hemsky and Jordan Eberle scored for Edmonton. Jason Labarbera made 25 saves, but struggled with puck control as the Oilers dropped their fourth straight.
Edmonton twice battled back to tie it but had no answer after Malkin’s second goal of the season. Crosby earned the secondary assist on the score and has points in each of Pittsburgh’s first six games.
The Penguins haven’t trailed at home yet this season and wasted little time jumping on the well-traveled Oilers, who were playing their third game in four nights. Crosby collected the puck behind the Edmonton net and flipped a pass that deflected off Kunitz’s stick and went right to Dupuis, who slipped a shot between Labarbera’s legs to make it 1-0 just 3:08 into the first period.
Pittsburgh dominated the first 20 minutes but the Oilers collected themselves early in the second. A 5-on-3 power play failed to produce a goal but the momentum from the end of the penalty allowed Edmonton to tie it. Jeff Petry threw in a shot from the point and David Perron jumped on the rebound but his shot into a wide-open net went off the post and behind Fleury. Hemsky raced in and poked it across the goal line for his second goal of the season.
Kunitz made it 2-1 Pittsburgh just past the game’s midway point, though he left the hard work up to Dupuis and Crosby. Racing in three-on-two, Dupuis’ wrist shot at the net was deflected by Crosby. The puck glanced off Labarbera’s glove and slid toward the net. Crosby raced behind the net and was about to tap it in only to have Kunitz beat his linemate to the punch by a split second.
Still, the Oilers kept coming. Fleury, arguably Pittsburgh’s best player during the team’s quick start, ended up sprawled in front of the net during a scrum and was unable to secure the puck. It trickled out to Eberle, who lifted a backhand over a sea of players with 4:01 remaining in the second.
NOTES: Edmonton F Nail Yakupov, the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft, returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch in the previous two games. Penguins F Beau Bennett was scratched due to a lower body injury and is “day to day” according to coach Dan Byslma. … Pittsburgh placed F James Neal on injured reserve with an upper body injury and recalled F Harry Zolnierczyk from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL. … Edmonton assigned D Philip Larsen to Oklahoma City of the AHL and recalled F Ryan Jones. … The Oilers continue their six-game road trip on Thursday against the New York Islanders. … Pittsburgh plays in Philadelphia on Thursday.