James O'Brien

The Beau Show: Penguins pour it on late against Avalanche

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On a night where the Pittsburgh Penguins had No. 9 on their minds, No. 19 sure put on a show.

Beau Bennett helped the Penguins put together a fantastic third-period turnaround, eventually beating the Colorado Avalanche by a score of 4-2.

Much like Boston’s comeback against Montreal, it was a dramatic turnaround. The Avalanche were up 2-1, yet Pittsburgh scored three goals in less than four minutes to run away with the contest.

Bennett’s 4-2 goal may have been the most prominent showing of increased confidence:

It was a special night for a first-rounder who’s development has been bumpy, to say the least.

With Daniel Sprong being the topic of much conversation – and consternation – around Pittsburgh, it was other Penguins youngsters who made the biggest difference.

Olli Maatta continues to show the sort of promise that’s been all-too-rare at times this season,¬†grabbing¬†two helpers in this one.

Is everything perfect in Pittsburgh? Not really … in fact, Bennett seemed to get shaken up late in the contest, keeping with what feels like a “one step forward, two steps backward” pattern.

Still, wins heal a lot, and the Penguins have an opportunity to start piling them up with five of their next six games coming at home.

All of a sudden, the Oilers are … playoff hopefuls?

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Certain numbers indicate that the Edmonton Oilers are better than they’ve seemed, but now much simpler ones are starting to look a lot more promising.

The Oilers gained a measure of revenge for head coach Todd McLellan, as Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl powered a 4-3 overtime win against the San Jose Sharks (aka the team that fired McLellan).

Hall and Draisaitl continue to be the lifeblood of the Oilers offense, really carrying the load especially – but not exclusively – once Connor McDavid suffered his very unlucky injury.

Could that win mean more than that, though?

The Oilers are now on a four-game winning streak to begin the month of December, making the most of a homestand that ends when they host the New York Rangers on Friday. This tweet might say the most, though:

In the age of “the charity point,” that potential gap is a little bigger than it may seem. And, yes, it must be mentioned that the Pacific Division is downright pitiful.

Still, the Oilers will take it, especially when you consider how many people dismissed their chances once they lost McDavid.

It was a rough night for the Sharks beyond the scoreboard, as Logan Couture may have gotten injured.

Bowled over: Bruins run away with third period vs. Habs

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Boy, business really picked up between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens in the third period of Wednesday’s game.

A blistering stretch left the Habs stunned and powered the Bruins to an eventual 3-1 win:

Six minutes in:¬†Dennis Seidenberg tripped up Dale Weise on a breakaway, with Tuukka Rask getting bowled over. Some believed that Weise deserved a penalty shot, but that didn’t happen.

About eight minutes (7:53) in: In a remarkably similar circumstance, Loui Eriksson was hauled down into Mike Condon, but this instance resulted in a goal.

(See that combined sequence in the video above.)

Less than a minute (8:35) into the period: Landon Ferraro made it 2-1.

Just like that, the Canadiens saw a 1-0 lead turn into a 2-1 deficit. Patrice Bergeron kept hammering away in that final frame as well, scoring the 3-1 goal at the 13:42 mark. All in all, things really came unglued in mere minutes.

That wasn’t the only facet of the game, either, as Tuukka Rask was maybe the biggest single difference-maker.

Opposite directions?

For the first time in 2015-16, the Canadiens are on a three-game losing streak.¬†They’ve also lost four of their last five (going 1-3-1 since Nov. 28).

Montreal maintains a healthy Atlantic Division lead, yet with Carey Price on the shelf, one wonders if much of their cushion will dissolve.

Meanwhile, the Bruins continue are really getting their acts together, having only failed to grab a standings point once since Nov. 19 (going 7-1-2).

Back injury sidelines Gabriel Landeskog for Avs tonight

Gabriel Landeskog
AP

The Colorado Avalanche announced that captain Gabriel Landeskog won’t play against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday because of a back injury.

That’s all they shared. There’s no word on whether this might keep the sturdy Swede out any longer.

Perhaps his back has been bugging him for a bit?

After quite a streak for about a month, “Landy” has been limited to an assist in his last five games played.

Even a limited Landeskog is a blow for the Avalanche, who must hope that this is merely a minor ailment.

Penguins wear No. 9 decals to honor Pascal Dupuis’ career

It’s likely that No. 9 will be on the minds of more than a few Pittsburgh Penguins players tonight. It’ll literally be on their helmets, too.

The Penguins provided a great gesture on Wednesday, as they honored Pascal Dupuis‘ career with a No. 9 decal on their skaters’ helmets:

Cool stuff, right?

Before you get too sad, here’s a little comic relief via Maxime Talbot: