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Oilers-Golden Knights game preview: ‘Oh Boy,’ McDavid’s in town

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Connor McDavid leads the Edmonton Oilers vs. the Vegas Golden Knights

Connor McDavid is in town and that could very likely lead to an “Oh Boy” moment for the Vegas Golden Knights.

Remember last year at the outdoor game in Lake Tahoe when Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon came barreling down the right side and Alex Pietrangelo uttered his “Oh Boy” comment? History may repeat itself tonight at T-Mobile Arena as McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers take on the Knights.

McDavid scored twice Thursday in the Oilers’ 5-1 win over Arizona, eclipsing the 200-goal mark in just 411 games played. With 201 tallies in his bank, McDavid’s now beginning the chase to 300 and the challenge for Vegas’ defense is to try and limit his opportunities.

Every NHL team has “stop No. 97” on their locker room grease board, and it’ll be no different for the Golden Knights. Reilly Smith talked about attention to detail after the Knights lost to St. Louis Wednesday to drop to 1-2 on the young season. They better account for McDavid’s whereabouts whenever he’s on the ice. Oh, the Oilers are also off to a 4-0 start and lead the Pacific Division and McDavid has multiple points in all four of those Ws (5-6—11) and leads the NHL in scoring. So there could be an “Oh Boy” moment or two inside The Fortress this evening.

As for the Vegas Golden Knights lineup, Mattias Janmark is likely to draw in assuming he’s feeling well enough after missing 11 days following a stint in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. Janmark practiced Thursday and if he’s given the green light, he’ll likely start on the fourth line with William Carrier and Brett Howden. Defenseman Alec Martinez is not expected to play (see below).

Three storylines for Friday:

1. Don’t forget about Leon: Everyone knows you must keep an eye on Connor McDavid. But you better account for Leon Draisaitl too if you hope to have success against the Oilers. Coach Dave Tippett has moved Draisaitl off McDavid’s line and has him skating on the second line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Kailer Yamamoto. It hasn’t slowed Draiaitl down as he has two goals and eight points in four games leaving him tied for second in the NHL in scoring, three points behind McDavid.

2. Must-win for Vegas?: Peter DeBoer was asked Thursday if tonight is a must-win game for the Golden Knights. DeBoer said it might be a bit early for must-win narratives but he did add that it’s a divisional game where the Knights are already 1-1 and his team needs to get back on track, regardless of the opponent. But yeah, given the state of things, it’s an important game even though it’s only game No. 4 of an 82-game schedule. 

3. Missing Marty: Alec Martinez will not play tonight after suffering a lower-body injury in the third period Wednesday against the Blues. Dylan Coghlan draws in and he was skating with Zach Whitecloud in Thursday’s practice. It also means Alex Pietrangelo will have a new partner on the blue line and that person may be Nicolas Hague.

The Vegas Golden Knights will not only miss Martinez’s shot-blocking acumen, he’s also a member of the first power play unit and with Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone already out, the Vegas power play, which is struggling early on, is going to have a much different look when it comes to personnel, especially on that first unit. 

Oilers vs. Golden Knights

  • When: Friday, 7 p.m.
  • Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
  • TV: AT&T Sportsnet Rocky Mountain
  • Radio: 1340-AM
  • 2021-22 records: Edmonton 4-0; Vegas 1-2
  • 2021 regular season series: Did not play
  • All-time series: Vegas leads 6-5
  • Line (from Westgate SuperBook): Vegas -130; Total 6 1/2 Over Even.

Golden Knights projected lineup vs. Oilers

Forwards: Nicolas Roy-Chandler Stephenson-Evgenii Dadonov

                   Reilly Smith-William Karlsson-Jonathan Marchessault

                     Peyton Krebs-Nolan Patrick-Keegan Kolesar

                    Mattias Janmark-Brett Howden-William Carrier

Defense: Nicolas Hague-Alex Pietrangelo

                Brayden McNabb-Shea Theodore

                Zach Whitecloud-Dylan Coghlan

Goaltenders: Robin Lehner

                     Laurent Brossoit

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