The Vegas Golden Knights return from their six-day NHL All-Star Break to play four games that have been postponed. The first of which is Tuesday night against the Edmonton Oilers in Edmonton at 6 pm. Using the break to their advantage the Golden Knights will sport a nearly full-healthy lineup.
Chandler Stephenson and Dylan Coghlan will return from COVID-19 protocols, Nicolas Hague will return from a minor day-to-day injury. However, defenseman Zach Whitecloud is now out with a foot injury.
Golden Knights forward Jack Eichel is not expected to play despite shedding his no-contact jersey in Monday’s practice. He skated on a makeshift line on Monday with Michael Amadio and Nolan Patrick, two players that are also expected to be scratches for the Golden Knights.
The Oilers, have struggled this season despite a solid start and are now outside the Pacific Division’s playoff picture with 49 total points. The same things that have plagued the Oilers in years past continue to haunt them this season. Shaky goaltending, no depth scoring, and an over-reliance on Connor McDavid and Leon Draisiatl continue to cost the team games.
Mike Smith is expected to start for the Oilers Tuesday night as Mikko Koskinen has been placed in COVID-19 protocols. The 39-year old goaltender has only played six games with the Oilers this season.
Keys to the Game
Shake Off the Rust Early
After an extensive break for both teams, whoever starts the game strong will be a huge factor in the pace of the game Tuesday night. This will be both the Golden Knight’s and Oilers’ first game back since the NHL’s All-Star Break.
Scoring the first goal will be crucial to whichever team can manage to do so. For the Golden Knights, they will look to score early as they did in their last game against the Buffalo Sabres with Reilly Smith scoring just 33 seconds into the game.
Ignore Evander Kane’s Antics
This game will also mark the first time the Golden Knights will play Evander Kane this season. After having his contract terminated by the San Jose Sharks, Kane signed a deal for the remainder of the 2021-22 season with the Oilers and has played three games with his new team.
No major Kane-like instances have arisen in these three games, but against a team that he has a lot of familiarity against, Kane could pull one of his old stunts Tuesday night. If this happens, it is best for the Golden Knights to stay disciplined and ignore Kane.
Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl
It will be a tall task to defend two of the best players in the entire National Hockey League. At least Mark Stone, Johnathan Marchessault, and Alex Pietrangelo got to play on the same side as these two at the 2022 NHL All-Star Game though!
In all seriousness shutting down McDavid and Draisaitl typically leads to a victory against the Oilers as their depth scoring is practically non-existent. Also, staying out of the box may not be a bad idea as the Oilers’ powerplay is third-best in the NHL.
Projected Vegas Golden Knights Line Combinations
Max Pacioretty- Chandler Stephenson – Mark Stone
Jonathan Marchessault- William Karlsson– Reilly Smith
Mattias Janmark- Nicolas Roy- Evgenii Dadonov
William Carrier- Brett Howden- Keegan Kolesar
Nicolas Hague- Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb- Shea Theodore
Ben Hutton- Dylan Coghlan
Robin Lehner/Laurent Brossoit
Vegas Golden Knights Special Teams
20% Powerplay (16th) and 79.53% Penalty Kill (17th)
PP1: Dadonov, Stephenson, Stone, Pacioretty, Theodore
PP2: Roy, Karlsson, Smith, Marchessault, Pietrangelo
PK1: Roy, Stone, McNabb, Pietrangelo
PK2: Karlsson, Janmark, Hague, Theodore
Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols/Scratches/Taxi Squad
Jack Eichel (neck), Alec Martinez (face), Zach Whitecloud (foot), Adam Brooks (unknown)
Nolan Patrick (scratched), Michael Amadio (scratched), Daniil Miromanov (scratched)
Projected Edmonton Oilers Line Combinations
Evander Kane- Connor McDavid- Kailer Yamamoto
Ryan McLeod- Leon Draisaitl- Zack Kassian
Zach Hyman- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins- Jesse Puljujarvi
Warren Foegele- Devin Shore- Derek Ryan
Darnell Nurse- Evan Bouchard
Duncan Keith- Cody Ceci
William Lagesson- Tyson Barrie
Mike Smith/Stuart Skinner
Edmonton Oilers Special Teams
28.45% Powerplay (3rd) and 77.42% Penalty Kill (21st)
PP1- Puljujarvi, Nugent-Hopkins, Draisaitl, McDavid, Barrie
PP2- Kane, McLeod, Kassian, Nurse, Bouchard
PK1- Ryan, Shore, Ceci, Keith
PK2- Draisaitl, Nugent-Hopkins, Nurse, Bouchard
Injured Reserve/COVID-19 Protocols/Scratches
Oscar Klefbom, Josh Archibald, Mikko Koskinen (COVID)
How to Watch/Listen
6:00 pm on ESPN+ Fox Sports 98.9 FM Radio