Penguins squander power-play chances in OT loss to Oilers
Saturday’s meeting between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Edmonton Oilers at PPG Paints Arena offered the promise of offensive exploits scarcely witnessed in the modern NHL.
And sure enough, there was a rare display of scoring. Two, in fact.
Goals by Oilers fourth-liner Colby Cave and Penguins defensive stalwart Brian Dumoulin certainly could be labeled as rare considering they were the first of the season for each party.
Ultimately, an overtime score by Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, the NHL’s leading scorer entering Saturday, gave Edmonton a 2-1 victory.
Arguably, the primary reason the Penguins failed to come away with two points was an area where they rarely have scored as of late.
With five opportunities on the man advantage, the Penguins failed to score on the power play for the eighth consecutive game. During that span, they are 0 for 19 on the power play despite employing some of the NHL’s top offensive talents such as Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin, who returned to the lineup after an 11-game absence because of injury.
Despite the results, or lack thereof, the Penguins profess to being satisfied with their method. They generated 11 shots on the power play Saturday.
“The only thing that’s missing right now, is finish,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “If we weren’t generating scoring chances or we didn’t have zone time or we didn’t have a high success rate on the zone entries or we were losing faceoffs or things of that sort, then we could look at the structure and the process and the execution.”
The Oilers put the first one in at 7 minutes, 21 seconds of the first period when Cave tucked in a forehand shot past goaltender Matt Murray’s right skate.
The Penguins got a goal from their other special-teams unit to tie the score at 13:14 of the third.
Stealing a pass off of Oilers superstar forward Connor McDavid in the defensive zone, Penguins forward Bryan Rust pushed the puck up the left wing, gained the offensive zone and centered it for defenseman Brian Dumoulin. Facing minimal resistance from Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or defenseman Oskar Klefbom, Dumoulin fired a wrister past the glove hand of goaltender Mike Smith for his first career short-handed score.
At 2:37 of a wild overtime period, Draisaitl streaked up the left wing and put a wrister past Murray’s blocker to claim victory.
Smith finished with 51 saves, the second most by an opposing goaltender in Penguins regular-season history.
Seth Rorabaugh is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Seth by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .