Home Hair highlights Penguins/Oilers recap: Pittsburgh crushed by McDavid and Edmonton

Penguins/Oilers recap: Pittsburgh crushed by McDavid and Edmonton


In the penultimate game of the season, the Penguins have tasted their own medicine in the last 17 seasons when this time they’re the ones who came up against an unstoppable star center. Connor McDavid stole the show Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, registering a goal and three assists in an effort that will likely send him to his fourth scoring title in his seventh NHL season.

The Pens had no answer for McDavid, who deked, danced, passed and shot all around and through them. Usually it’s Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin who do that at other times.

In the words of Michael Scott, “well, well, well…how the turntables turned.”

Edmonton scored the game’s first goal in the first period. Connor McDavid passed the puck and Evan Bouchard had plenty of room to pick a shot and pop it past Casey DeSmith, who also had traffic in front of him.

The Oilers would appear to be 2-0 when Bouchard beat DeSmith again but – not so fast my friend – Edmonton were a hair offside, which is a hair too long to get away with when you face the Penguins and their excellent video team. After a review, the call on the ice is reversed.

The Penguins seemed to thrive and gain some momentum on that swing, and Teddy Blueger kicked a penalty. After a frustrating lag from the top players, the second group scored just after the penalty expired. Mike Matheson fired a heavy shot that went wide, but the rebound took a fortuitous bounce off the back wall towards the stick of Jeff Carter, who managed to slam the gift home and tie the game at 1 -1.

The hard-earned tie lasted just 25 seconds, as the Oilers scored in response on the next shift. McDavid rounded defender Brock McGinn and centered a pass for Kailer Yamamoto. Yamamoto once again offered Evander Kane, who used all that movement to quickly hit a shot home and push Edmonton ahead.

As the third begins, the Oilers begin to pull away. Mike Matheson was forced to take a penalty after an extended shift trapped in his own zone, and it didn’t take long for Edmonton to cash in. A shot from beyond was stopped by DeSmith but a juicy rebound was there for Zach Hyman to strike and extend the lead to 3-1.

The Oilers got more insurance on a power play after Bryan Rust was ejected for hooking. Connor McDavid bypassed Carter and the offensive zone with impunity and shot DeSmith upstairs. Oy. MVP caliber plays with skating, but there was plenty to shoot upstairs. 4-1.

A breathless final effort came when the Pens got a power play with 5:54, and they fired their goaltender for a 6-for-4 advantage, because why not? However, like most of the game, it wasn’t a very good power play and nothing was made of it.

Goaltender Mike Smith nearly scored a goal, knocking the puck all the way down. It looked like he had been on target the longest, but he just rolled wide. Former Penguin Derrick Brassard would tack on that empty net a little later to make the final score 5-1, but the Pens won again with an official review for being offside.

Zach Kassian, however, eventually scored on the empty net and was even in on it this time.

Some ideas

  • In the beginning, there was an unreal game pace and non-stop action. There were only 11 face-offs in the first period (and also explain that figure by including face-offs early in the game, after a goal and after two penalties). Usually in the NHL, if there’s one face-off per minute, that’s about average. For almost half it really shows how fast the action was, and apart from automatic whistles (like penalties or goals) there were very, very few stoppages. Makes a fun product.
  • The Pens are now 7-for-7 in successful tough goals this season after adding two more tonight. Most if not all of them where the other team was offside. Andy Saucier and his team in the video booth are so on point and monitoring the game as it goes. These guys can’t sneak anything, even if they’re big and it’s an empty goal.
  • Jason Zucker left the game in the first period after only taking five shifts and playing 3:49 he would not return. Zucker was in possession of the puck and looked like he was skating a little weird and uncomfortable. Zucker dropped the puck in the area and retreated to the bench, never to be seen again. Whatever’s going on, his midsection/core/whatever situation he’s been facing for over five months certainly doesn’t seem to be resolved, but we’ll see how his new recovery process unfolds.
  • After the Pens’ first goal, they had a hodgepodge of players not playing on the power play (Heinen-Blueger-McGinn, Dumoulin-Marino) and the Oilers had their first line. The Pens players didn’t look like they knew what they were doing, and Dumoulin couldn’t cover the front of the net and backdoor play. That might be a fair observation or maybe not a very fair one, but it seems like it was the type of play and lateral movement he might have done a few years ago, but doesn’t do very often these days.
  • Edmonton is fast and playing very aggressively under their new coach. They could be a problem in the West in the playoffs. They outplayed the Pens tonight, but they’re 11-2-1 in the last 14 games, not an unusual performance. Depending on the format, that couldn’t happen until the third round this year, but what about a possible Colorado/Edmonton playoff battle, Nate MacKinnon vs. McDavid? Sign me up for this, hurry up!
  • If Mike Smith has found the fountain of youth, a long playoff streak could occur. He was great at stopping the puck and was red hot all month. Some of the Pens’ best chances seemed to come from Smith’s self-inflicted mistakes when the puck game went bad, so he has to tie into that.
  • Matheson’s penalty came after a 1:34 shift where he and partner Chad Ruhwedel were stuck in their own end. Edmonton hasn’t had a ton of looks or chances or shots or expected goals, but by the time when the Pens are pinned in their own end, it often seems like the #2-#5 pairing is there more often than not.
  • A goal and three assists for McDavid in the evening and just a masterful performance from him. McDavid skates like he has a turbo button on a video game permanently pressed compared to everyone’s normal speed. It’s quite the sight to behold. Few players are worth the price of admission, but McDavid fits the bill.
  • While the Oilers hit twice on the power play tonight, DeSmith has allowed as many as 12 power-play goals in 25 games this season. Tristan Jarry has allowed just 18 shorthanded goals in 58 games this season. With goalie being the most important PK and all, the Pens really don’t have a top 2 or top 3 penalty group in the league while Jarry is injured.
  • Luckily (I guess?) this loss to the Pens doesn’t really hurt the playoff standings, with Washington also losing tonight, 4-1 to NYI. Although, let’s assume the Caps had a game in hand, maybe that’s a missed opportunity, but not showing up to the Flyers’ game on Sunday was a lot worse than not being able to keep up with Connor McDavid today.

A tough game to handle for the Pens, they wanted to build playoff momentum, but the force known as Connor McDavid all but stopped Pittsburgh in their tracks. It’s going to happen from time to time, but with a guaranteed meeting against the New York Rangers or the Florida Panthers, the way the Pens will handle skill and speed and a team that could be better than them looms. at the end of the regular. season. They just got thrown ice by one tonight.