Even without Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins just keep plugging along.
The Penguins earned their fourth consecutive victory, and 10th in the past 13 games, by defeating the host Edmonton Oilers 5-2 on Friday night. They will continue their road trip Saturday when they face the Vancouver Canucks.
Crosby, the longtime Penguins star who was named ESPN’s top player of the decade Friday, has been out since mid-November after surgery to repair a core muscle injury. Teammates Nick Bjugstad (lower body), Brian Dumoulin (lower body), Patric Hornqvist (lower body) and Justin Schultz (lower body) are also out.
The Penguins got balanced scoring Friday as Chad Ruhwedel, Joseph Blandisi, Jared McCann, Kris Letang and Brandon Tanev all tallied.
“It’s huge, especially given the circumstances right now with the amount of injuries that we have, to have different guys step up and contribute offensively for us … if we’re going to continue to find the win column,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “So guys are stepping up at different times, and from a coaching standpoint, it’s been a lot of fun to watch because everybody’s been involved.”
Goaltender Tristan Jarry, making his fifth straight start, totaled 26 saves and helped keep Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the league’s top two point producers, off the scoresheet.
“Every night we have a different group of guys stepping up,” Jarry said. “That’s been the key for us, making sure we’re playing our game and playing to our systems, and we get the timely goals that we do from different guys every night.”
The Canucks snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-4 overtime victory against the visiting Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday as Chris Tanev scored the winner 1:30 into the extra session.
Elias Pettersson scored twice, and Antoine Roussel and Tanner Pearson added goals for the Canucks. Jacob Markstrom made 39 saves.
“This win was really important for us,” said Pettersson, the reigning Calder Trophy winner as the NHL’s rookie of the year. “Just try to build on this.”
The Canucks blew a two-goal lead in the second period, after which coach Travis Green called a timeout.
“I think we were a little frustrated, for sure,” said Chris Tanev, whose brother plays for the Penguins. “They scored two goals in, I don’t know, two minutes, and they were coming at us pretty good. A lot of zone time, shots from everywhere, seemed like they were getting chances almost every shift.
“It was a really good timeout by Coach to sort of settle us down. I think after that, we played pretty well the rest of the game.”
The winner was just the second goal of the season for Chris Tanev, a veteran defenseman who is third in the NHL with 83 blocked shots.
“I’m super happy for Taney,” Markstrom said. “He’s been playing good, and he’s a guy who never complains and always does more than expected.”
Pearson said the Canucks benefited from some introspection.
“Any time you lose three in a row, you want to take a good long, hard look at yourself, and we did that,” he said.
–Field Level Media