LAS VEGAS — The Vegas Golden Knights generally covered, suffocated, and blanketed Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid. However, teammate Leon Draisaitl filled the net with four goals, but twice the Golden Knights winger Ivan Barbashev answered Edmonton goals in less than a minute, including a pair of snipes 60 seconds apart in the third period, and the Golden Knights barely hung on 6-4 at T-Mobile Arena.
The Golden Knights lead the Round Two series 1-0.
There were a few chewed fingernails and thumping hearts as Edmonton charged in the back half of the third period. Even McDavid slipped free for a few good looks near the Golden Knights' net. The VGK tightened up just in time, and Edmonton's penalty for too many men with one minute remaining sealed their fate.
Jack Eichel scored a 190-foot empty-netter for the sixth goal.
Draisaitl completed the hat trick when he scored a power-play goal early in the third period to tie the game 3-3. However, one minute later, Barabshev scored his second goal of the game to reclaim the lead. Capping the two goals in one minute Chandler Stephenson (5) ripped a shot past Skinner from the right wing.
Draistaitl scored his fourth on the rush midway through the period to again make it a one-goal game, but there would be no fifth goal for Edmonton.
The Oilers had just one Grade-A scoring chance in the first 40 minutes, and McDavid had only two shots, but things got tense in the final 10. Edmonton had seven high-danger chances as the Golden Knights' defensive zone coverage crumbled before recovering just in time.
The teams traded goals early in the first period. About four minutes into the game, Edmonton's lethal power play quickly converted when McDavid circled the zone and slipped a pass through the slot to Leon Draisaitl in the right-wing circle. Draisaitl (8) one-timed it past Brossoit for his first goal of the game.
However, on the following shift, the Golden Knights tied the game. The Golden Knights crashed the net, and Edmonton scrambled to find the puck or bodies. Ivan Barbashev (2) wheeled a wrister from the low slot past Edmonton netminder Stuart Skinner for a tie game.
The Golden Knights scored the next two goals, too.
Midway through the first period, defenseman Zach Whitecloud sprang the two-on-one transition for William Karlsson and Michael Amadio (2), who buried the wrister from the right-wing circle.
The Golden Knights power play evened the special teams battle with 97 seconds remaining when Mark Stone (4) deftly deflected a shot past Skinner.
While teams across the league debate the need for No. 1 goalies, this Round Two series and top teams in the Pacific Division may give others a look into the strategy. Stuart Skinner and Laurent Brossoit filled the pipes in Game 1, and neither was solid in the first period.
Skinner was incredibly shaky, allowing three goals on the first 10 shots. A few pucks squirted away from the Edmonton goalie and were near-goals. Brossoit returned the softy-goal favor with just 10 seconds remaining in the first period when Draisaitl (9) banked the puck off Brossoit's back.
Draisaitl's goal closed the Vegas lead to 3-2.
After the late goal, the second period was a relative snoozer as the teams tightened the screws of their respective defensive postures. The Golden Knights outshot Edmonton 12-7 in the period and had the only high-danger chance.
Overall, the game was a low event, at 5v5. Through two periods, the teams combined for just six high-danger chances, and the Golden Knights had five. Stats, according to NaturalStatTrick.com.
After an up-and-down Round One, Jack Eichel had a bevy of shots in the opening salvo of Round Two. He put five shots and finished with two points (1-1-2).
Brossoit stopped 24 of 28. Skinner allowed five goals on 32 shots.