Oilers-Penguins Preview

The only use of the word luck when describing the Edmonton Oilers lately has been preceded by the adjective bad.

Already without their latest top draft pick for an extended period, the Oilers lost another this week following a freak accident on the ice. Without the pair of key youngsters, Edmonton will be tasked with changing its aging misfortunes against Pittsburgh.

The last-place Oilers will try to snap a three-game losing skid Saturday night when they visit the Penguins, who have owned this series.

Pittsburgh (13-8-1) is 8-0-2 against Edmonton in the last 10 meetings, including three straight wins. The Penguins have also won each of the last four matchups in Pittsburgh.

Things aren't going well for Edmonton against anyone right now. The Oilers (7-14-2) opened a five-game road trip with regulation losses to Washington and Carolina and an overtime defeat at Detroit this week.

Friday's 4-3 loss to the Red Wings dropped the Oilers to 2-6-2 in their last 10 and 0-4-1 in their past five away from home. Iiro Pakarinen snapped a 12-game point drought with two goals.

''It is nice to score some goals, but at the end of the night, we lost the game,'' Pakarinen said. ''So you can't be happy.''

Edmonton will go at least the next two months without this summer's No. 1 draft pick Connor McDavid, who broke his clavicle in early November, and it learned Thursday that 2012 top selection Nail Yakupov will miss two to four weeks after spraining his left ankle during Wednesday's 4-1 loss to the Hurricanes.

It's not an uncommon injury, but it happened in odd fashion for Yakupov, who has a pair of goals and 10 assists. He was hurt when linesman Matt MacPherson lost his balance and fell backward onto him following a faceoff.

The Oilers scored four goals in each of the last three games McDavid played, but they have struggled since with an average of 2.3 in 10 contests.

McDavid's first missed game was a 2-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Nov. 6. Phil Kessel sealed the Penguins' sixth straight victory and ninth in 10 games with a goal midway through the third period, but they have been up and down since.

Pittsburgh followed losses in three of four with wins in three of four but took another step back with Friday's 2-1 overtime defeat at Columbus.

The Penguins took a 1-0 lead on Evgeni Malkin's fifth goal in five games midway through the third period but surrendered an equalizer less than three minutes later. The Blue Jackets controlled the extra period, which ended on Cam Atkinson's goal on a pretty setup by Brandon Dubinsky.

Dubinsky's cross check to the back of Sidney Crosby's neck sent Pittsburgh's star center to the locker room late in the second period. Crosby returned for the start of the third and finished the game.

''I'm OK,'' Crosby said. ''There is always concern when that happens. Yeah, I'm good.''

Marc-Andre Fleury made 41 saves in the loss. Fleury has seven consecutive wins against the Oilers with a 2.15 goals-against average, but he allowed four goals during a 6-4 victory March 12 and didn't face them earlier this month.

If Fleury is given a day off, Jeff Zatkoff would earn his second start this season against the Oilers after making 27 saves against them.

Anders Nilsson is set to make his fifth start in six games for Edmonton after Cam Talbot suffered Friday's loss. Nilsson made 31 saves in the first meeting and is 0-2-1 with a 3.30 GAA in his career against the Penguins.

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