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DeBoer’s math doesn’t work in Golden Knights’ 5-3 loss to Oilers

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Nolan patrick Vegas Golden Knights center

The math didn’t compute for the Vegas Golden Knights Friday.

Coach Peter DeBoer said his team would need at least three goals to win. They got three, including Nolan Patrick, Nicolas Hague and Nicolas Roy with their first of the year each. But the other side of the equation is if you give up four at the other end, you’re likely going to lose.

Sure enough, the Golden Knights allowed too many to the Edmonton Oilers, who leaned on their top guns to get the job done in what ultimately was a 5-3 win at T-Mobile Arena.

The Oilers remain undefeated and atop the Pacific Division at 5-0 while the Golden Knights fell to 1-3 and have dropped three straight since winning on opening night back on Oct. 12.

“You can’t give up four goals and win in this league,” DeBoer said.

An empty net goal by Leon Draisaitl accounted for the insurance fifth tally. But the Oilers had too much time and space to make plays and that’s a sure recipe for disaster.

“We’ve got to get our goals against down,” DeBoer said. “We defended a lot better tonight but they’re an opportunistic team and they find ways to score.”  

Three takeaways from Friday’s game:

1. Dynamic Duo do damage: You can game plan all you want for Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl and the Oilers’ Dynamic Duo will still find a way to hurt you. McDavid had a pair of assists on Zach Hyman’s two goals and Draisaitl scored in the second period to give Edmonton a 3-2 lead. He added an empty net tally with 11.8 seconds remaining to seal the win.

Hyman has five goals already and he’s proving to be a heck of an acquisition for the Oilers coming over from Toronto. 

“We didn’t pay enough attention to detail,” said Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith. “You can’t give those guys the kind of room we did and expect to beat them.”

2. Another injury for Vegas: It’s almost becoming an epidemic as the Golden Knights lose a player to injury every game. Friday, it was defenseman Zach Whitecloud who left the game in the second period after taking a puck off his hand after blocking a shot and did not return.

The Knights have placed Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone on injured reserve so you won’t see either for a while. Alec Martinez is not on IR yet and DeBoer said at the morning skate Martinez is day-to-day.

If Whitecloud can’t play Sunday against the New York Islanders, Daniil Miromanov will be in the lineup against the Islanders. Miromanov was called up Friday from Henderson of the AHL.

DeBoer said Whitecloud was being evaluated by the team’s medical staff and he didn’t have an update. But he said in watching the play in which Whitecloud got hurt, “It wasn’t good.”

3. Not so special teams: The Knights’ power play has struggled going back to last year and that trend continued as Vegas was 0 for 3 and that included a 5-on-3 opportunity in the first period. The Knights are now 0 for 9 this year which is the worst in the NHL. They also allowed a power play goal to Hyman in the first period. 

“We can’t go there,” DeBoer said if the sluggish power play is becoming demoralizing inside the locker room. “It’s early in the season. We’ve got four of our guys who are contributors to the power play on IR. If you go down that road and on that train, it’s a long season.”

Next up: Sunday vs. New York Islanders, 7 p.m.

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