(SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Penguins return home from a successful road trip looking to make up more ground in the Metropolitan Division on Thursday evening as they host the Edmonton Oilers.
The Penguins finished off a four-game swing out west with a 2-1-1 record, capping the road trip with Monday's shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks. Tommy Wingels netted the winner in the eighth round of the shootout for the Sharks to hand the Pens a 2-1 loss.
Sidney Crosby scored in regulation for Pittsburgh and Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves. Kris Letang assisted on Crosby's goal to give him a new career high of 51 points on the season.
"It's unfortunate," Crosby said. "We played a pretty good game and probably deserved better."
Pittsburgh is 6-1-1 in its past eight games overall and begins a three-game homestand tonight four points back of the New York Islanders for second place in the division. The New York Rangers are a point up on the Isles for first place and neither club is in action tonight.
The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin is just one point shy of becoming the fourth player in team history to reach 700 points with the franchise, while Fleury has put together a string of 12 straight starts allowing three goals or fewer. He has a 7-3-2 mark and 1.41 goals against average over that span while pacing the NHL with nine shutouts.
One of those shutouts came in a 2-0 victory at Edmonton on Feb. 4. He posted 22 saves, improving to 6-2-0 lifetime versus the Oilers with a 2.26 GAA and .922 save percentage.
Malkin and former Oiler David Perron had the goals as the Pens improved to 6-0-2 in their past eight versus Edmonton.
Pittsburgh also is 9-1-0 with two ties in its last 12 at home versus Edmonton, winning each of the past three meetings.
The Oilers play the fourth contest of a five-game road trip tonight looking to avoid a sixth loss in a row. They are 0-4-1 over that drought after getting topped 5-2 by the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.
Rob Klinkhammer, acquired in the deal with the Penguins for Perron on Jan. 2, and Nail Yakupov scored for the Oilers, while Ben Scrivens allowed three goals on 24 shots in defeat.
"I thought we came out strong in the first and then got away from our game plan in the second," Klinkhammer said. "And they kind of took over and we were solid in the third."
The Oilers are 4-5-2 in their past 11 on the road and cap their swing on Friday in Columbus.
Scrivens lost the only time he faced the Penguins, giving up two goals on 27 shots faced. Backup Richard Bachman, on the roster in place of the injured Viktor Fasth, the tough-luck loser in the earlier matchup with the Pens, has never faced Pittsburgh.