The Penguins look finished after their third loss in a row, this one a blowout against the Oilers

Matt Vensel, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Hockey

EDMONTON, Alberta — Stick a fork in the Penguins. This team looks done.

Their recent three-game winning streak felt like a distant memory Sunday while watching a true Stanley Cup contender, the Edmonton Oilers, blow them out at Rogers Place. The Oilers scored four second-period goals in their 6-1 victory.

The Penguins have lost three games in a row, all featuring a different element of embarrassment. Seattle shut them out. Saturday in Calgary, they gagged up a two-goal lead in the third. Then came Sunday’s no-show here in Edmonton.

Right away Sunday, the Penguins very much looked like a tired team that has suffered a crushing loss the night before and then didn’t get to the team hotel in Edmonton until around 3 a.m. The speedy Oilers were all over them early.

That might have been the case regardless, considering the Penguins are the NHL’s oldest squad – with some of their stars showing their age in recent games.

Alex Nedeljkovic was on point early keep the Penguins in it for 20 minutes. He stuffed Connor McDavid when the reigning Hart Trophy winner cut to the net. He slid out to stop a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins one-timer. He later fought off a tricky tip from Sam Gagner, one of nine Oilers shots from the slot during the period.


Nedeljkovic was hardly to blame when Zach Hyman gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead 14 minutes into the game. At the offensive blue line, Erik Karlsson couldn’t bang the puck down the wall past Leon Draisaitl, who quickly pushed it up ahead for a 2-on-1 rush. Nedeljkovic stopped McDavid, but Hyman buried the rebound.

You simply cannot give that caliber of rush chance to the Oilers, who entering Saturday were one of the NHL’s most dangerous teams on the counterattack.

The Oilers blew it open by scoring twice in the first six minutes of the second.

The Penguins were pushing for the equalizer when Calvin Pickard got across to make a tough toe save on Sidney Crosby. The Oilers went the other way on another odd-man rush, this one 3-on-1. Corey Perry converted a tap-in pass.


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