There will be a lot of deep, heavy-hearted think pieces written today. This won’t be one, but we do need to talk.
Last night it was proven that, somehow, inexplicably, the world we know best lost a piece of itself. How we move forward from this remains to be seen, but we must come now unite and admit the truth: The Oilers probably don’t suck anymore.
It’s a tough pill to swallow. Watching them try to rebuild was like watching random episodes of LOST on shuffle — it’s okay if you don’t know what’s going on, it doesn’t matter. For all the lucky breaks in the draft that were ruined by awful management, they deserved their destiny as laughing stock of the league — even before they traded Taylor Hall and signed Milan LOLucic.
Most of their bottom six and defense are still full of garbage men — whatever they did this offseason, they weren’t fixing everything wrong with this team — but they have something big with Connor McDavid and Jordan Eberle. McDavid is everywhere. Eberle is just so smooth with the puck, plus he just seems to always know where to find McDavid. It’s an elite duo, no question. And that tandem will probably win them a lot of games this season.
It just wasn’t enough Tuesday night.
This season the Pens just keep finding ways to pull out games. They’re pulling out more than your mom and dad in a heated game of Jenga. They’re 4-1 when their opponent scores first. Somehow they are now 3-2 when trailing after two periods, which doesn’t even seem like real life if you’ve watched any regular season games the last three years. And they did it again in this one with three unanswered goals against an Oilers team that showed they could run with the team that just won a Cup with speed.
The Oilers will inevitably find a way to screw this up because Oilers. But for now, they actually have a fun team to watch. Could be something, could see them in the lottery draft again next year ¯_(ツ)_/¯.
Less than two minutes in, Conor Sheary grabbed the Oilers by their genitalia. Lucic tried to eat the puck and when he couldn’t just threw it to open space. Bryan Rust picked it off and went the other way. He hit Conor Sheary in stride, who wound a slap-shot to the moon to put one over the glove of Cam Talbot — 1-0, Pens.
There was a lot of back and forth before the Oilers finally struck. Crosby misfired on a pass to the slot and before you knew it McDavid and Eberle were going the other way on a 2-on-1. McDavid fed Eberle and that was all she wrote.
If you need an example of how fast McDavid is, just watch this shit. First, Scott Wilson kills a guy. Carl Hagelin, who is very fast, gets the puck going the other way, but McDavid skates him down and takes it back.
Later in that shift the Oilers took the lead with more transition. This time it was Patrick Maroon finishing the job on a 3-on-2, but again it was all McDavid. He blew past Dumoulin and fed Maroon on the doorstep for the tap-in — 2-1, Oil.
All within like seven seconds the Pens were able to miss an open net on a one-timer, hit a post, then couldn’t score on a 4-on-1 . This sent Eberle the other way on a 2-on-1 with McDavid. Everyone was watching McDavid while Eberle danced Murray out of his shoes.
The game remained a meth ride before the Pens made it 3-2 with a little under eight minutes left. This one was all because Sidney Crosby happened to happen. Hagelin would eventually pick up the trash in front, but the play started in their zone before the Pens even had possession, and that was all 87. It got going when some jobber made an attempt to dump it in, but Crosby was able to break it up twice before taking the puck himself back into the zone. He found Daley pinching his near side, who put a little too much heat on his redirect to Hornqvist in front. Hagelin was there to drive it home to pull within one.
As has been the tradition, the Pens took command in the third. Once upon a time the Pens were DOA if trailing after two. You could literally go do anything else with your life if they went into the third behind. Not anymore, Jack.
Five minutes into the final frame, Murray made a big save on some guy with a fake name to send the Pens the other way. The way the game was going, you knew it had to be a transition goal, and of course it was. This time it was Malkin with one hand directing it past Talbot.
Shit finally slowed down after Malkin tied it up. The Pens got a power play late but negated it with a penalty of their own. They were able to kill the other end of it, and with less than two minutes left to go in the game, Edmonton sent the fans home happy in the most Edmonton way imaginable.
Sheary got a look on the doorstep, but Talbot stopped him. Benoit Pouliot’s clear attempt couldn’t have been worse if the Pens were paying him — it ricocheted off Sheary and wound up in the net.