The Vegas Golden Knights (41-30-5, 87 points) dropped a huge game Saturday afternoon against the Edmonton Oilers (44-26-6, 94 points). Their playoff odds have significantly taken a hit.
The Golden Knights entered the game just one point behind the Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division Standings. This game was the Golden Knight’s last game at hand on the Kings. They had the chance to pass them in the standings.
The Kings play the Columbus Blue Jackets at 7:30 pm and the San Jose Sharks play the Dallas Stars at 5:00 pm. We’ll have your updated Stanley Cup Playoff odds after all games conclude.
No lineup changes were made for the Golden Knights outside of Robin Lehner leaving the team due to personal reasons. He flew back to Las Vegas Friday and Jiri Patera backed up Logan Thompson in the net.
In the first period, the Golden Knights came out strong and played a really good brand of hockey. They were tough on the Oilers’ offense and got several quality offensive chances themselves.
Evander Kane took a penalty that sent the VGK to the powerplay but a new scoreless streak started for the Golden Knights as they were unable to score.
The newly formed first line of Jack Eichel, Mattias Janmark, and Jonathan Marchessault had some good looks with the line continuing to show chemistry. But Mike Smith had a strong game and was on Saturday afternoon.
Not being able to score off their chances but a dent in the Golden Knight’s chances as the Oilers ended up getting the first goal of the game.
Ryan McLeod found Zack Kassian on the doorstep with an angle on Thompson. Instead of shooting it, Kassian fed Kris Russell who scored from the point.
This was Russell’s first goal of the season and first in 125 games. Fittingly, his last goal in the NHL was against the Vegas Golden Knights on March 17th, 2019.
The story of the Golden Knights playing solid but not getting results continued in the second period. Smith continued to stop everything that the VGK threw at him.
The Oilers pressured with some chances late in the period. Alec Martinez and Shea Theodore were trapped in their own zone for nearly three minutes. After two periods of play, shots were even at 25.
Heading into the third period in a game that had Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Leon Draisaitl, as well as many other star players, the only goal scorer was defenseman Kris Russell.
In the third, Peter DeBoer shuffled his lines and for the first time put Eichel, Mark Stone, and Max Pacioretty together. But the Oilers scored early in the third.
After taking enough time to review his options, Cody Ceci scored from the point with a clapper. Five bodies were in front of Thompson with three of them being Golden Knights. The puck was not tipped and just 35 seconds into the third, the Oilers led the Golden Knights 2-0.
Both Oilers’ goals at this point had come from defensemen. But this ended though as the Oilers’ net goal would come from a forward in Warren Foeggle.
After Martinez lost the puck at the blue line, Foeggle skated in alone on Thompson and went forehand-backhand to score.
Not scoring on their early chances combined with a defensive effort that got sloppier as the game went on cost the Golden Knights the game. The Golden Knights got two more powerplay chances but they were unable to score yet again.
Right after the second penalty was up to Zack Kassian the Oilers scored. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins rushed to the net and threw one towards the cage. Kane followed up on the doorstep and scored a short-handed goal.
The same song and dance followed from DeBoer and the Golden Knights. Lines were shuffled and the bench was shortened. But the Golden Knights dropped an all-important game against the Oilers Saturday night.
The VGK will play the New Jersey Devils on Monday night at T-Mobile Arena.
Stay tuned with Vegas Hockey Now for the updated playoff outlook for the VGK.
VHN’s Player of the Game: Jake Leschyshyn
He had a strong game, all things considered. But he, and the rest of the team couldn’t score. I had to pick someone okay?