It wasn’t the textbook precision of the Pittsburgh Penguins win last Thursday. In many ways, it was a loose throwback to 1980’s style hockey for which the Penguins and Edmonton Oilers will forever be associated. Patric Hornqvist scored a pair of goals on the doorstep and Sidney Crosby outdueled heir apparent Connor McDavid, including when Crosby undressed Ryan Strome and Edmonton goalie Cam Talbot for the overtime winner. The Penguins won 6-5 at the Rogers Place.
In overtime, Crosby (2) stopped, pivoted, stickhandled, around and then through the legs of Strome before zipping across the crease to deposit the backhand shot on the top shelf. It was a great play by a great player in front of the kid who will succeed Crosby as the face of the NHL, Conor McDavid.
“I think he showed tonight who’s the best player in the world,” said Patric Hornqvist. “He always shows up. When you guys are saying he’s not the best anymore and all that. And then he comes in and does that.”
Crosby was one of three players to score their first goal of the season and score their second goal, too. Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist and Edmonton grinder Alex Chaisson also scored their first two goals of the season.
The Penguins had four days off since their last game including a couple days of team bonding and practice in scenic Banff, Alberta. Their play reflected the layoff and Edmonton nearly capitalized on several chances but goalie Matt Murray and the Penguins did just enough to keep the puck out of their net.
Midway through the first period, Crosby (1) finally notched his first goal of the year on a classic-Crosby power-play deflection. It was the only goal of the period.
In the second period, the Wild West duel began. The teams combined for six goals in the period but neither Crosby or McDavid scored. Edmonton burned Penguins forward’s sloppiness for a pair of goals.
Just one minute into the second period, Leon Draisaitl (3) lit the lamp from the slot after the Penguins forwards flew the zone. Defenseman Juuso Riikola could not stop forward quickly enough and Evgeni Malkin could not get back fast enough.
Two minutes later, Chaisson (1) schooled Daniel Sprong on wall play. Chaisson reverse checked Sprong from the wall, then bolted for the slot, uncovered. Chaisson (1) whipped a wrister past Murray for Edmonton’s first lead, 2-1. Sprong played just one more shift during the next 39 minutes.
Chaisson also tied the game, 3-3 when the Penguins neutral zone coverage allowed Edmonton to jailbreak into the zone. Penguins defensemen Jack Johnson and Olli Maatta could not recover. Toby Reider took Maatta to the goal which cleared Chaisson in the slot to cleanly beat Penguins goalie Matt Murray.
Penguins defenseman Jamie Oleksiak (2) continued the unlikely-hero trend when he tied the game, 2-2. The Penguins big defenseman finished the first of two goals on a tic-tac-toe rush with Malkin and Phil Kessel.
Oleksiak (3) also tied the game, 5-5 with a mega-blast slapshot from the top of the slot.
Superstar McDavid (5) scored also added a goal with a wrist shot from the circle which leaked through Murray.
Draisait (4)l scored the Oilers fifth goal, too. On the powerplay, Draisaitl finished a three-on-two from McDavid.
Patric Hornqvist (1, 2) scored a pair of goals in the second period, too. In front of the net, Hornqvist converted gritty corner work by Dominik Simon midway through the period. In the final minute, the Penguins SCHutdown line (Riley Sheahan-Matt Cullen-Hornqvist) rushed the Edmonton zone. Cullen’s pass to Hornqvist deflected off his skate, off Edmonton goalie Cam Talbot, and across the line.
Edmonton had 46 shots on goal and blocked 23 Penguins shots. The Penguins got just 31 shots on net. The Penguins outhit Edmonton 30-28.