EDMONTON - Lost in the hype of Sidney Crosby's first ever Western Canadian trip is how far his Pittsburgh Penguins have come as a team.
After a slow start to the season that saw them begin with a record of 8-11-2, the Penguins have started to turn their game around. They scored four goals in a span of 7:25 in the third period to come from behind and beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 on Wednesday night, winning their fifth game in their last six outings.
Crosby did have three assists in the comeback, but the Penguins have been getting contributions throughout the lineup. Even young defenceman Kris Letang is getting in the act with two goals in two games.
"I think we are playing our game now," said defenceman Ryan Whitney. "We are scoring more goals. We did a good job tonight not quitting and earlier in the year I think we might have been guilty of quitting on games and maybe being complacent. It's good to get off on a road trip with a start like that."
The Pens have a record of 6-2-1 in their last nine games and moved into a tie for eighth in the Eastern Conference with Toronto and the New York Islanders.
"The last month we have been a lot better," said Pittsburgh head coach Michel Therrien. "I like our work ethic right now. I like the spirit in the dressing room and our spirit on the bench."
"It kind of reminds me of our team last year," said Pens forward Colby Armstrong. "We never gave up and always found a way to stay in the game.
"We had a slow start but we are getting it going now. We're starting to get the bounces and finding a way to win."
The victory moved the Penguins over the .500 mark at 13-12-2 on the season. Now the secret is to stay on the winning side of the ledger.
"We need to keep up that frame of mind," said Pittsburgh's Georges Laraque. "We need to start building wins above .500. The first game of a road trip is very important and this was a huge comeback win and great for us in the dressing room."
The Penguins continue their four-game road trip in Calgary on Thursday before heading on to Vancouver and Philadelphia.