The Pittsburgh Penguins (21-10-4) took advantage of their chances and survived a few bad bounced. Of course, surviving bad bounces as been the 2019-20 Penguins story. The Penguins converted their chances as Joseph Blandisi and Jared McCann scored breakaway goals and goalie Tristan Jarry again made great saves in important moments against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers (19-14-4). The Penguins scrapped to a 5-2 win at Rogers Place in Edmonton.
Zach Aston-Reese had two assists and Brandon Tanev scored the empty-net goal in the Penguins fourth straight win.
Jarry, who played junior hockey with the WHL Edmonton Oil Kings, stopped 26 of 28 shots and got some help from the red iron behind him. As he has done all season, Jarry also made a handful of sparkling saves and controlled most rebounds. When Jarry got in trouble, his defensemen bailed him out. Jarry has won 10 of his last 12 starts.
Despite being on the wrong side of the puck and on the ropes in the first period, the Penguins scored the first goal of the game. As they did against Calgary on Tuesday night, the line of Aston-Reese, Jared McCann and Dominik Kahun turned the game around with one thunderous shift. Midway through the first period, the Penguins were being outshot 5-1, but the line pushed the puck in deep and attacked.
Aston-Reese had a couple of chances in front before he and Kahun got the puck to blue line monster Chad Ruhwedel at the point. Ruhwedel (3) simply shot it towards the net through McCann’s screen and the puck trickled, rolled, and finally eeked across the goal line.
Later in the first period, the Penguins scored the second goal of the period. As an Edmonton power play expired, Aston-Reese created a turnover and sprung Joseph Blandisi, who bolted from the penalty box on a breakaway. Blandisi (2) deked Edmonton netminder Mike Smith with a backhand move.
Edmonton controlled territory and the puck but didn’t dominate the Penguins on the shot clock or scoring chances in the second period. In fact, the Penguins out-chanced Edmonton, but the teams traded goals.
Later in the second period, Penguins center Jared McCann (10) stole the puck from Edmonton defenseman Ethan Bear at the Penguins blue line and had a long breakaway goal.
“It’s been a while since I had a breakaway, so I just tried to slow down. I knew I had a little bit of time,” McCann said. “I did a pump fake, and (Smith) bit there.”
The goal gave the Penguins a 3-1 lead and things looked good when the Penguins earned their first power play in the final minutes of the second period. However, for Penguins forward Riley Sheahan (2) beat Kris Letang with an outside-in move to the slot and snapped a top-shelf wrister past goalie Tristan Jarry with less than 30 seconds remaining.
However, Letang (9) finished the power play in the opening seconds of the third period. The Penguins defenseman one-timed a pass in the left-wing circle and beat Smith to the far post.
The Penguins played without two of their top-four defensemen, Justin Schultz and Brian Dumoulin, but had balanced pairs with the insertion of lefty Juuso Riikola.