Edmonton 2 – Pittsburgh 1 (SO)
PIT Goal Scorers: Kris Letang (1) (Power Play)
Assists: Steve Sullivan, Tyler Kennedy
EDM Goal Scorers: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1)
Assists: Taylor Hall, Jeff Petry
Shootout Goal Scorers: EDM – Jordan Eberle, Ales Hemsky | PIT – James Neal
1. Devan Dubnyk (Oilers – G): Saves: 33, Save Pct.: .971
2. Brent Johnson (Penguins – G): Saves: 34, Save Pct.: .971
3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Oilers – C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0
EDMONTON (AP) – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins an impact in his NHL debut.
The first pick in this past summer’s NHL draft scored the tying goal for Edmonton with less than five minutes left in regulation, and the Oilers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in a shootout on Sunday night.
“Going into the game I was really nervous, but I tried to use that to my advantage,” said Nugent-Hopkins, who played his first NHL regular-season game. “It felt pretty good. … it was really exciting. But, I’m more excited about the win.”
Ales Hemsky scored the shootout winner and the Edmonton Oilers started off the season with a win.
Kris Letang scored for the Penguins, who were without Evgeni Malkin. The center left after the pregame skate with what appeared to be a lower body injury.
Pittsburgh got points in all three stops of a Western Canadian road trip to start the season. The Penguins beat Vancouver and Calgary before coming up just short in Edmonton.
“We got five out of six points,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “I like that. We got some wins in tough places. We’ve played a lot of hockey already and I think that showed in this game. A lot of guys got taxed. But we’re happy with our start.”
Nugent-Hopkins got his first NHL goal as he pounced on a loose puck in front of the Penguins net and slid a backhand shot past Penguins starter Brent Johnson at 15:05.
Oiler Ryan Smyth took an elbowing major soon afterward, but Edmonton was able to kill the penalty.
“It was hormone hockey,” Oilers coach Tom Renney said. “I guess you have to expect that. Our team hadn’t played in a while and we had some guys playing their first ever NHL regular-season game. They were almost over-excited. We turned the puck over a number of times in the first two periods. But we started to play a little better and started to share the puck better.”
Both teams hit posts in overtime, but couldn’t score.
Pittsburgh scored early in the first period on the power play. Letang’s point shot seemed to go right through Edmonton goalie Devan Dubnyk at 3:13
TIOPS POST-GAME NOTES
*The Penguins scratched Brooks Orpik (hernia), Arron Asham and Evgeni Malkin. Malkin’s injury is not considered serious. As expected his playing availability went up until game time as he tested his injury knee. Malkin though wasn’t able to give it a go.
*The Penguins remain perfect on the Penalty Kill this season, going 5-for-5 on the PK vs Edmonton.
*Pittsburgh has 5 power play goals through three games but the Penguins went 1-for-8 on the man advantage.
*Jordan Staal had a poor night in the face off circle, winning 4 of 16 draws (25%). Staal went 1-for-8 in the first period.
*Joe Vitale and Mark Letestu were very good in the face off circle. Vitale won 10 of 15 draws and Letestu won 11 of 18 draws.
*Richard Park made his Penguin debut along with Steve Macintyre. Park had 8:36 of ice time and was 7 of 12 on draws. MacIntyre had just 4 shifts.