NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, January 10th (All times Eastern)
Pittsburgh Penguins (32-12-1) at Edmonton Oilers (14-27-5), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Sidney Crosby will visit Edmonton for the first time in four years, as his powerful Pittsburgh Penguins take on the lowly Oilers at Rexall Place.
The last time Pittsburgh played in Edmonton on Oct. 9, 2011, Crosby was dealing with post-concussion syndrome and the Penguins lost 2-1 in a shootout. Crosby's last appearance at Rexall Place was on Jan. 14, 2010, when he failed to register a point in a 3-2 Pittsburgh victory.
Crosby has never scored a goal in five career games versus the Oilers, but he does have seven assists. Three of those helpers came on Oct. 15 of this season when the Pens downed a visiting Oilers club 3-2 in regulation. That win was Pittsburgh's fifth in the last six meetings of this series overall and the Penguins also have won four of six in Edmonton.
Pittsburgh enters Friday's matchup leading the Eastern Conference with 65 points and has won three straight, five of six and 12 of its last 14 games. On the other end of the spectrum is the Oilers, who are last in the West with 33 points and have lost five of six and 11 of their last 14 outings.
Crosby, who is leading the NHL with 65 points, played a big role in Pittsburgh's most recent win, a 5-4 shootout win Tuesday night in Vancouver. He scored with 54.2 seconds left in regulation to force overtime before netting the only goal in the shootout to give the Penguins an improbable comeback victory over the Canucks.
Pittsburgh trailed by a 4-2 score after Zack Kassian scored with 6:36 left in the third period, but Kris Letang tallied for the Pens with 1:11 left in regulation before Crosby evened things just 16 seconds later.
Marc-Andre Fleury later stopped all three skaters he faced in the shootout to secure a memorable win for Dan Bylsma, who posted his 232nd victory as Penguins head coach to move past Eddie Johnson for the top spot in franchise history.
"To be down two with that much time left we knew we needed to get two quick ones," Crosby said. "We found a way."
Fleury finished with 22 saves, and Evgeni Malkin and Brian Gibbons also scored regulation goals.
The Pens improved to 13-9-1 on the road after Tuesday's win. They're playing the middle test of a three-game road trip tonight and will cap the swing Saturday in Calgary.
Edmonton has split the first two games of a three-game homestand, beating Tampa Bay by a 5-3 score on Sunday before dropping Tuesday's 5-2 decision against the St. Louis Blues.
David Backes' power-play goal in the second period proved to be the difference in the Blues' win at Rexall Place. Nail Yakupov and Mark Arcobello scored one goal apiece for the Oilers, while Ilya Bryzgalov allowed four goals on 29 shots in the loss.
"I didn't love our start," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "I thought we were watching them play, especially in our own zone, we weren't initiating contact."
Edmonton, which will begin a four-game road trip Sunday in Chicago, is just 7-12-2 on home ice this season.
01/10 10:38:47 ET