EDMONTON – The Pittsburgh Penguins only needed one period to stifle the struggling Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
Pascal Dupuis scored the game-winning goal and Jordan Staal had three assists as the Penguins came from behind in a 3-2 victory over the Oilers.
Down 2-0 after the second, the Penguins bounced back with three third-period goals to hand Edmonton its sixth straight defeat.
“The first two periods, we obviously didn’t come out with our best effort,” Staal said. “We shook it off and said we have to change it in the third. And we did. It’s not a good thing to have to come back like that. We have to work on being a team that comes out strong every time and we haven’t been doing that of late and it has been catching up to us. We can’t do this every night.”
Tyler Kennedy and Matt Cooke also scored for the Penguins (30-18-1), who won their second straight after beating Calgary 3-1 on Wednesday, the first time they have won two games in a row since Dec. 19. The Penguins are now 3-1 through four games of a five-game trip.
“This is not an easy trip,” said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. “We are playing some very good teams here. I think getting on the road has hopefully simplified some things for us. A lot of times you get on a trip like this and it helps you regroup. Hopefully this is something we can build off of.”
Andrew Cogliano and Lubomir Visnovsky scored for the Oilers (16-25-5), who have won just once in their last 14 games and remain two points ahead of Carolina for last place overall in the NHL.
“We should have won the game,” Cogliano said. “For two and a half periods we shut down Crosby, (Evgeni) Malkin and their big guns.”
Oilers head coach Pat Quinn said he liked the majority of what he saw from his team on the night, just not the way things ended up.
“We do some stuff that I like a lot,” he said. “We have played very well against good teams this year and then find a way to disappoint ourselves. That was tough because I thought our team played well and maybe deserved a different result. But we have to quit beating ourselves before we learn to win hockey games.”
Edmonton started the scoring on a two-man advantage 1:34 into the second as Patrick O’Sullivan made a nice feed to Cogliano at the side of the net who stuffed in his own rebound after Pens netminder Marc-Andre Fleury initially made a terrific kick save on the first attempt.
Both teams had decent chances to score before the midmark of the second as Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk mad a couple big pad saves on Evgeni Malkin before play went the other way and Fleury stopped Ryan Stone on a point-blank shot.
The Oilers grabbed a 2-0 lead on a another power-play marker with eight minutes left as O’Sullivan fed Visnovsky at the point and he blew a hard shot past Fleury for his ninth.
Dubnyk kept it a 2-0 game as he made a clutch save with five minutes left in the middle frame, stoning Bill Guerin on a power-play breakaway opportunity.
The second ended with a bit of a melee as Malkin rode Robert Nilsson into the Pens net and Fleury took major exception to the visit, mauling the Oiler forward before being tackled himself by Cogliano.
Pittsburgh finally broke Dubnyk’s shutout bid three minutes into the third as Kennedy took a shot from the middle of the faceoff circle that made it 2-1.
The Penguins tied the game up three minutes later on the power play as Dubnyk was able to stop the initial shot by Staal, but couldn’t recover in time to get in front of a backhanded rebound shot by Cooke.
Pittsburgh then took the lead for good midway through the third as Staal took a shot from behind the net that banked off of the skate of Dupuis and in.
Fleury finished with 33 saves for the Penguins while Dubnyk stopped 28 of 31 in net for Edmonton.
Both teams play next on Saturday as the Penguins close out a five-game road trip in Vancouver and the Oilers travel to San Jose.
Notes: It was the only meeting between the two teams this season. Pittsburgh won the two previous games. …Edmonton goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin underwent back surgery in Los Angeles on Thursday and is out for 12 weeks. …With backup Brent Johnson on injured reserve due to a lower-body injury, Marc-Andre Fleury started his second game in as many nights in the Pittsburgh net. …The Oilers were missing forwards Gilbert Brule and Shawn Horcoff, both out ill. …Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik remained out due to an undisclosed injury… Pittsburgh forward Evgeni Malkin has now scored in only one of his last 14 games – a hat trick against the Ottawa Senators on Dec. 23. He’s also scored in only three of his last 21 games. …The Olympic flame made its way into Rexall Place for a special pre-game ceremony on its way to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.