July 25th, 2024

Connor McDavid has goal, 2 assists and Oilers cruise past Sidney Crosby and Pens 4-0

By Will Graves, The Associated Press on March 10, 2024.

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists and Darnell Nurse scored twice in the third period and the Edmonton Oilers eased past the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 on Sunday.

Mattias Ekholm had a goal and an assist for the Oilers, who snapped a two-game losing streak by shutting down the struggling Penguins.

A day after having his 13-game point streak ended in a loss to Buffalo, McDavid had his 118th game with three or more points, third most in Edmonton history behind Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri.

Calvin Pickard made 41 saves for Edmonton. He left the game briefly near the end of the second period after Pittsburgh forward Bryan Rust ran into him at the goal mouth. Pickard returned at the start of the third to finish off his second shutout of the season.

Tristan Jarry stopped 38 shots for Pittsburgh. The Penguins have lost six of their past seven and were blanked in back-to-back home games for the first time since 2004.

The Oilers began their four-game road swing with a taut overtime victory over Boston in a potential Stanley Cup Final preview, but followed it up with consecutive losses to Eastern Conference also-rans Columbus and Buffalo, the latter a shootout setback on Saturday in which they let an early two-goal lead get away.

Not this time. Not against a team in the middle of an uncharacteristic freefall out of the playoff picture, a swoon that began in earnest with a 6-1 setback in Edmonton last weekend.

McDavid gave Edmonton the lead just 1:08 in when Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang tried an ill-advised cross-ice pass that McDavid easily picked off at the top of the Pittsburgh zone. McDavid cruised down the slot and beat Jarry with a wrist shot to put the Oilers in front.

Ekholm doubled Edmonton’s advantage later in the period on a one-timer from just above the right circle that appeared to deflect off Pittsburgh defenseman John Ludvig’s leg and into the net.

Unlike their previous handful of meetings with the Penguins, however, the Oilers did not pull away. Jarry, who has had trouble against Edmonton in his career, kept Pittsburgh in the mix with a series of deft stops.

Yet the Penguins, likely on their way to missing the playoffs for a second straight season after a run of 16 consecutive postseason berths, were unable to figure out Pickard.

The return of Rust after a seven-game absence because of an upper-body injury did little to inject juice into an offense that has failed to produce regularly all season, particularly against the NHL’s elite.

Pittsburgh threw plenty of pucks at Pickard, though few were in high-danger areas.

The Penguins did make a brief push near the end of the second period, but Nurse beat Jarry twice in the third to power the Oilers to a sixth straight win over Pittsburgh.

UP NEXT

Oilers: Begin a four-game homestand on Wednesday when Washington visits.

Penguins: Travel to Ottawa on Tuesday.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

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