The Vegas Golden Knights found themselves in familiar territory Saturday night as they trailed the Edmonton Oilers 3-0 at a period of time. They were able to mount a two-goal comeback effort but Mikko Koskinen and the Oilers were too much as the Golden Knights lost 3-2.
“I don’t think that was typical Vegas hockey,” Robin Lehner said postgame.
The team will not play until December and has 69 games remaining in the regular season.
The frustration that Koskinen caused was evident in the Golden Knights systems as several defensemen started to pinch which left guys open for the Oilers. Perhaps on the fastest teams in the league, the Oilers has four breakaway chances Saturday night and scored on two of them. They won despite Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl combining for zero points.
“They are a very opportunistic team and a team that you can’t give that many chances to we kind of shot herself in the foot with that,” said Chandler Stephenson who scored in Saturday night’s game.
Brayden McNabb had himself a solid game in the background Saturday for the Golden Knights. Part of the reason that both McDavid and Draisaitl were held scoreless was due to McNabb’s hard-nose style of defensive play.
With the Golden Knights having guys like Alex Pietrangelo, Shea Theodore, and Zach Whitecloud jump up on the rush, McNabb was one of the few stay-at-home defenders for the VGK Saturday night.
“The one break away for sure was clearly a defensive man up in the rush and the forwards decided that they were just going to follow him in instead of filling for him but there were some other ones there to where our defenseman are sleeping and there are people behind us,” Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer said postgame.
One bright spot in the Golden Knight’s loss was their powerplay which is starting to regain its confidence with Max Pacioretty and Jonathan Marchessault both back from injury. In the Golden Knight’s only powerplay chance of the night, they had multiple good looks and had two shots on goal. Koskinen stood his ground and finished the night with 36 saves.
“I think especially on that power-play he (Mikko Koskinen) made a lot of big saves. He kept them (The Oilers) in it and I think he played well and stopped our chances,” said Stephenson.
The Golden Knights are not only one of the worst teams in the league in terms of powerplay percentage, but they also have the least amount of chances with 47 in total. For comparison sake the Vancouver Canucks have had 71 powerplays this season.
“We have to draw more penalties. I think that has been an issue here for a long time. I feel like our game as we are getting guys back in the lineup, we are starting to get some more offensive zone pressure. You still have to attack those goals and draw penalties and we still have not done a good enough job of that. It would give us some which would give us some more looks on the powerplay,” said DeBoer.
The Golden Knights will be off for three straight days before hitting the road to take on the Anaheim Ducks on the first day of December. This is a perfect opportunity for the team to rest up, recover, and refocus. Alec Martinez will likely be the next name that comes back from injury as he has missed seven games with a facial laceration.