Penguins squander power-play chances in OT loss to Oilers |

Penguins squander power-play chances in OT loss to Oilers

Seth Rorabaugh
Edmonton ‘s Connor McDavid (right) and the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby skate during the second period in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. The Oilers won 2-1 in overtime.
The Penguins’ Sidney Crosby is knocked off his skates by the Oilers’ Oscar Klefbom during the second period Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, at PPG Paints Arena.
The Penguins’ Sidney Crosby wins a face-off against Edmonton’s Connor McDavid during the first period in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. The Oilers won 2-1 in overtime.
The Penguins’ Brian Dumoulin celebrates his goal with Bryan Rust (17) and Zach Aston-Reese as Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins skates to his bench during the third period in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. The Oilers won 2-1 in overtime.
The Penguins’ Sidney Crosby shots at goal as Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) and Oscar Klefbom (77) defend during the third period in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019.
Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl (center) scores the winning goal against Penguins goaltender Matt Murray during overtime in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. The Oilers won 2-1.

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.

After all, there were a handful of scoring championships and MVP trophies on resumes from each lineup sheet.

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.

The power play.

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. But as I’ve said to (media) after a handful of the last few games, we feel as though a lot of that has been there. We’re getting a net-front guy. We’re getting shots to the net. We’ve had a couple of rebound opportunities. It’s not like we’re not generating opportunity. If we weren’t, it would a be a different narrative. As I’ve said to our players, we have to stay with it. We’ve got to hang in there. We can’t get discouraged. We’ve just got to get more determined.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for some fine tuning.

“We could have some more movement, open some things up,” defenseman Justin Schultz said. “We were a little static there, I thought. But we had some chances. I thought a few of my shots from up top were there. We had some screens. It just wasn’t going in for us (today).

The Oilers put the first one in at 7 minutes, 21 seconds of the first period when Cave overwhelmed typically steady Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson with his speed up the right wing and tucked in a forehand shot past goaltender Matt Murray’s right skate.

“I didn’t skate enough and allowed him to go around me,” a contrite Pettersson said. “It’s unfortunate. It’s my bad.

“I made an error, and that cost us a goal. And that was the difference.”

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 filled with three-on-three theatrics from both squads, 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.

“We played a heck of a game out there,” Murray said. “We should be proud of our effort. I think Smith stole one for them. He had an unbelievable game. If not for him, I think we deserved a little bit better.”

Follow the Penguins all season long.

Seth Rorabaugh is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Seth by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Penguins
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