The Vegas Golden Knights (12-9) dug themselves a hole in the first period and went down 3-0 in the first against the Edmonton Oilers (15-5). They were unable to complete the comeback and lost the game 3-2. Mikko Koskinen stood on his head the entire game and stopped 36 of 38 shots for the Oilers.
This is a big statement win for the Oilers who remain ahead of the Golden Knights in the Pacific Division standings. They have extended their point lead ahead of the Golden Knights to six points who currently sit fourth in the division.
It was a tale of two halves of the first period in the opening frame. With Jonathan Marchessault back in the lineup the Golden Knights came out of the gate hungry. They led in the shot department midway through the first period 11-5.
I know we are all ecstatic over the possibility of Alex Ovechkin potentially breaking the NHL’s all-time goal mark. But in Saturday’s game, a player broke an NHL all-time statistic. Kris Russell blocked three shots in the first period which made him the NHL’s all-time leader in blocked shots. Congrats to him!
Russell, and more prominently Koskinen were the main reason the Golden Knights were blanked in the first period. Frustration began to set in for the Golden Knights and as a result, they started to cheat with their systems a little bit. Defenseman started to pinch, and in a game against Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, this was not the safest of strategies.
The Oilers scored two goals in the first period thanks to some bad defensive giveaways by the Golden Knights. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored his second goal of the season on a two-on-one with Kailer Yamamoto. Later on, Mark Stone had a brutal turnover which led to Zach Hyman scoring off a breakaway.
This marked the third straight Saturday game that the Golden Knights had found themselves down by two after the first period.
More of the same started off the second period for the Golden Knights as Koskinen once again was unstoppable. With the Golden Knights pinching once more, they left Jesse Puljujarvi all alone who was off the races, and scored five-hole on Robin Lehner to make it 3-0.
The Oilers had four breakaways in Saturday night’s game and scored on two of them. Lehner was not the problem for the Golden Knights and he stopped 27 of 20 shots.
Chandler Stephenson was able to get the Golden Knights on the board in the second period after a strong defensive zone breakout. Head coach Peter DeBoer also started to shuffle up his line combinations and put Shea Theodore and Alex Pietrangelo together.
It paid off early in the third period as Theodore started a hectic play which led to the Golden Knight’s second goal. Marchessault weakly shot the puck on Koskinen and a mad scramble ensued. It hit off Reilly Smith’s skate and the Golden Knights scored with Smith getting the tally.
The team continued to pressure hard in the third. Mattias Janmark found Brett Howden for a grade-A chance in front of the net but he missed it just wide.
With Lehner on the bench late in the game, time simply ran out for the Golden Knights. They were unable to make a fourth-straight Saturday night comeback and lost the game 3-2.
The Golden Knights will have three days off and will not play until next month! This gives the team time to potentially get guys like Alec Martinez and Nolan Patrick back from injury.
They take on another tough Pacific Division opponent in that Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday, December 1 on the road at 10:00 pm.