Oilers-Penguins Preview

The Associated Press

With their superstar playing at a high level, the Pittsburgh Penguins have one of the most productive offenses in the NHL once again.

That doesn't bode well for an Edmonton Oilers team that has struggled to keep opponents off the scoreboard.

Sidney Crosby and the Penguins look to win for the 19th time in 21 regular-season home games Tuesday night when they take on the struggling Oilers.

Crosby put together another impressive performance with three goals and an assist as Pittsburgh (4-1-0) continued its strong start with a 5-4 victory at Tampa Bay on Saturday.

Following his eighth career hat trick, the center has produced at least one point in each of his first five games - his longest point streak to start a season since a six-game stretch as a rookie in October 2005.

Crosby's five goals and nine points both rank among the NHL leaders. While he's yet to score a goal in four career meetings with the Oilers (1-4-1), Crosby has four assists.

After averaging an NHL-best 3.38 goals last season, the Penguins are putting up 4.0 per game so far. They've also lost only twice - both against Buffalo last April - over their last 20 regular-season home games.

Pittsburgh has been particularly dangerous on the power play lately, converting on 5 of 11 opportunities in its last three games. Crosby and Jussi Jokinen lead the Penguins with two power-play goals, and Crosby assisted on Matt Niskanen's game-winner on the man advantage with 18.6 seconds left against the Lightning.

"We kind of have a little bit of a plan on what we want to do on the power play, and for the most part we just kind of read and take what's there,'' Niskanen said.

Now the Penguins hope to continue that production while improving to 4-0 at Consol Energy Center this season. They're also looking to win five of their first six overall for the first time since starting 9-1-0 in 2009-10.

They should have a good chance to make that happen against an Edmonton team that has surrendered a power-play goal in each of its first five games and has allowed a league-high 29 goals overall.

The Oilers also have given up at least four goals in each of their six games after goaltender Jason LaBarbera allowed four on 20 shots in Monday's 4-2 loss at Washington.

"I thought everything was going fine until we brought a puck back into our zone, and that basically started a few dominoes to fall,'' said coach Dallas Eakins, whose squad has four games left on its season-high six-game road trip.

Devan Dubnyk could get the start between the pipes, though he's 0-3-1 with a 5.43 goals-against average.

After allowing three goals in his first three starts, Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury may get a chance to bounce back after giving up four Saturday. He's yielded nine goals while winning four consecutive starts against the Oilers.

Defenseman Kris Letang (lower body) has returned to practice for the Penguins, but his status is uncertain. Forward Beau Bennett is day-to-day due to a lower-body injury.

The Penguins are 8-1-0 with two ties in their last 11 home meetings with the Oilers.

What to Read Next