Previewing Oilers vs. Pens, tonight 7 p.m.

Edmonton Oilers

Coming off a four game road trip and four days of rest, the Penguins return home tonight to face the Edmonton Oilers.  The Oilers (6-5-1, 4th Northwest) had a heartbreaking loss against Columbus on Wednesday in the midst of a seven game road trip, but hope to rebound tonight against the well-rested Pens.

The Oilers’ Mathieu Garon beat out Dwayne Roloson as the starting goaltender at the beginning of the season.  Thus far, the two have split time with Garon going 3-3-0 with a 3.18 GAA, while Roloson has gone 2-2-1 with a 2.78 GAA.  Since Roloson started Wednesday in Columbus, the Pens will face Garon tonight.

Mathieu Garon
Mathieu Garon

Meanwhile the Pens (6-4-2, 3rd Atlantic) have made some minor line changes for tonight’s game.  Pascal Dupuis will return after missing the past two games with an undisclosed injury.  Though he would not specify what kept him out of the lineup he did comment on how it effects him.

“I’m not healthy, 100 percent, yet,” Dupuis said after practice yesterday. “[But] it’s something that I can obviously play with.” (Post-Gazette)

Winger Ruslan Fedotenko is likely out of the lineup again tonight with an undisclosed injury, but has not completely ruled out playing.  With these few changes, the Penguins lines are projected to be as followed:

Talbot-Crosby-Satan
Dupuis-Malkin-Sykora
Kennedy-Staal-Cooke
Bissonnette-Zigomanis-Godard

I was glad to see head coach Michel Therrien keep the first line together regardless of Dupuis’ return.  Talbot played very well alongside Crosby, and Satan remains an imminent scoring threat.  The defensive pairings will remain the same.

The Pens will need to take advantage of Edmonton’s weak ability to kill penalties, as they come in ranked 29th in the league at a low 74.5%.  No doubt, the Pens will need to take advantage as they have the 2nd best home power play percentage at 31.0%.

In there only meeting last year, the Penguins were 4-2 victors in Edmonton.  However, if history has any say, the Oilers will struggle in the Steel City tonight.  In there last nine match-ups in Pittsburgh, the Oilers have only won once.

After four long days off, I believe the Pens will come out fast and look to score first and early.  Although the Pens have a better winning percentage when they trail after twenty minutes, I do not expect they will have to rely on that tonight.

Prediction:

Edmonton 2- Pittsburgh 4

~Dan @ Pittsburgh Puck Talk

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