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Crosby's three assists lead Pens' victory

The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby's three-assist night led the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, pushing the Penguins' home record to a perfect 4-0.

Meanwhile, the Oilers' record dropped to a dismal 1-5-1.

While Crosby headlined the Penguins' night, he was quick to deflect the praise to his teammates.

"Guys capitalized on some chances," said Crosby. "We found ways to put it in the back of the net. We had some good chances tonight and it's nice to see."

The Penguins got on the board first, just as they have in all four home games this season.

Pascal Dupuis gave the Penguins an early 1-0 lead with his second goal of the season by taking a Crosby pass from behind the net and wristing it through the exposed five hole of Oilers goaltender Jason Labarbera at 16:52 of the opening frame.

The assist for Crosby extended his point streak to six games and put him in the lead in the NHL scoring race.

Pittsburgh dominated play for the majority of the first period, outshooting the Oilers 15-3. However, the Penguins got into penalty trouble late, having to kill off 22 seconds of a 5-on-3 that spanned the end of the first period and the start of the second.

The Penguins were able to kill off the Edmonton power play, but just seconds later, the Oilers found the back of the net. The goal was the result of a shot from the point that deflected off the shin pads of Pittsburgh defenseman Deryk Engelland and right to the stick of David Perron. Perron pushed the puck off the post, but teammate Ales Hemsky was nearby and swooped into the crease to tap in the loose puck 1:39 into the second.

The Penguins regained the lead 9:40 into the second. Crosby redirected a Dupuis shot that then bounced awkwardly through Oilers netminder Labarbera and toward the net. Labarbera made a desperate attempt to reach back and corral the loose puck, but Chris Kunitz knocked the puck in for his second of the season. While Kunitz got credit for the goal, it appeared that Crosby was ribbing him on the bench about it because he had a good whack at it too.

Kunitz wasn't concerned.

"I don't really care who ends up scoring or who gets credit for it," he said.

The pendulum swung back to the Oilers when they pulled even at 2-2 at 15:59 of the second. After making a stellar glove save while lying flat on his stomach, Penguins' goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury wasn't able to get back into position because teammate Evgeni Malkin was lying on top of him. This made for easy pickings when Jordan Eberle grabbed the loose puck and backhanded it in for his second goal of the season.

While the Penguins carried the play in the first, Edmonton elevated its game in the second.

"We were probably lucky to get out of the second period tied," said Penguins' defenseman Brooks Orpik.

Malkin scored the winner at 7:20 of the third when Oilers captain Andrew Ference was off for high-sticking.

Just seconds into the man-advantage, defenseman Paul Martin wound up to take a slap shot from the point, but he fanned, sending the puck off the heel of his stick and right to Malkin at the bottom of the right wing circle. Without hesitation, Malkin dropped to one knee and one-timed the puck past Labarbera.

Crosby picked up his third assist of the night on the tally.

Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins was dismayed when he saw the play unfold.

"It's a fanned shot and it goes right to the most dangerous guy on the ice," Eakins said. "The hockey Gods aren't lined up with us right now so we'll do an exorcism and see if they'll grant us a little more leeway."

Fleury made 20 saves to improve his record to a perfect 5-0.

Labarbera made 25 saves in defeat.

"It wasn't good enough and we didn't win," said Labarbera. "It's about wins and losses. We've got to find ways to win games, that's the bottom line. Every one of us needs to step it up a bit more and find a way to win."

NOTES: Crosby was selected the NHL's third star of the week after recording three goals and four assists in three games. ... Five former No. 1 overall draft picks were featured in Tuesday's game: Fleury (2003), Crosby (2005), Oilers LW Taylor Hall (2010), Oilers C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011) and Oilers RW Nail Yakupov (2012). ... Tuesday's contest was the third time this season that the Penguins' opponent was playing the second game of a back-to-back. ... Edmonton youngsters Yakupov, Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, and D Justin Schultz all made their first appearance in Pittsburgh. ... Scratches for the Penguins were RW Beau Bennett (lower body) and D Robert Bortuzzo. ... Scratches for the Oilers were LW Jesse Joensuu, LW Luke Gazdic and D Denis Grebeshkov. ... The Penguins are next in action Thursday against the Flyers in Philadelphia. The Oilers will continue their six-game road trip Thursday against the New York Islanders.
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