McDavid’s Oilers take on Crosby’s Penguins
And Edmonton coach Todd McLellan believes he has a pair of players just as formidable in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
The Oilers look for a rare win over the Penguins as they continue a homestand against top-tier teams on Tuesday night.
Edmonton hasn’t beaten Pittsburgh in regulation since Jan. 10, 2014, going 1-5-2.
And since McDavid’s rookie season in 2015-16, the Oilers have dropped three one-goal decisions to the Penguins in Western Canada.
“We got to try and get a big win against a team that knows how to win games,” McDavid said after practice on Monday.
Crosby — now in his 14th season — has taken home more than his share of hardware including two MVP titles, two scoring championships and three Stanley Cups.
But McDavid could not point to one facet of No. 87’s game that stands out.
“It’s his full 200-foot game,” Edmonton’s captain said hours after being named the league’s second star of the week. “He’s dominant in the faceoff circle. Solid defensively and, obviously, his offense speaks for itself.
“He’s a guy that’s kind of that perfect mix of everything. He’s got that flash, but he’s also got a grind to him that is hard to play against.”
It’s hard to perceive Crosby as struggling offensively, but he’s logged just five assists through six games. In seven career games versus the Oilers in Edmonton, Crosby has one goal and seven helpers.
Pittsburgh (3-1-2) opened a four-game Canadian road trip Saturday with a 3-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs behind two goals and an assist from Malkin.
Malkin is the Pens’ top producer this season with three three-point games. He’s also
collected three goals and nine assists on the season.
A two-time scoring champion, Malkin has five goals and an assist in a five-game points streak against the Oilers. Pittsburgh has never lost in regulation — 9-0-2 — to Edmonton when Malkin notches at least one point.
McDavid (four goals, seven assists in six games) is an MVP and the reigning two-time scoring champion. He’s also posted two goals and five assists in four career games versus the Pens.
“He’s a great player. He’s done an amazing job since he’s gotten into the league,” Crosby told the team’s official website. “He’s off to another great start.
“He’s always a challenge to play against. You’ve got to make sure you’re ready to go.”
Pittsburgh will also have to watch out for Draisaitl, who has just two goals and four assists in six games, but is always dangerous.
“(Pittsburgh) sounds like our team with Connor and Leon when they’re playing well,” McLellan noted Monday. “We should be a tough matchup for them. They should be talking about what it’s like with 97 and 29.”
Tuesday’s tilt at Rogers Place is the Oilers’ fourth of six straight against teams that recorded at least 100 points last season. Edmonton (3-3-0) faces the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals on Thursday before traveling for a rematch with the Nashville Predators on Saturday.
The Oilers’ three-game winning streak ended with a 3-0 loss to Nashville last Saturday.