LAS VEGAS — The Edmonton Oilers had history on the line against the Vegas Golden Knights Tuesday night at T-Moblie Arena. The Oilers were looking to extend their winning streak to tie the Pittsburgh Penguins’ NHL record of 17 games.
The Golden Knights again tormented their division rivals from the Great White North, unceremoniously ending Edmonton’s win streak with a 3-1 win. Chandler Stephenson had a goal and an assist, and Adin Hill stopped 30 shots for the Golden Knights knife twist into their opponents’ heart.
The first period featured sluggish hockey by both teams, which was to be expected after the All-Star break. The Oilers scored first off a failed Golden Knights powerplay entry. Vincent Desharnais poked an errant pass by Paul Cotter, which sent Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on a two-on-one. Adin Hill had no chance to make the save.
As the period went on, the Golden Knights slowly found their game. Alex Pietrangelo fired a shot from the point, and Nic Roy was able to clean up the rebound.
The teams went to intermission tied at one.
The Oilers outplayed the Golden Knights for most of the second period. The shots favored the Oilers 18-6. The Golden Knights got away from their defensive structure and found themselves chasing the Oilers around their defensive zone. The offensive zone play was not much better. The Golden Knights chose to make an extra move with the puck instead of dumping it in the corner.
The Oilers were unable to capitalize on the Golden Knights’ poor play, and the teams remained tied at one heading into the second intermission.
Adin Hill made a big save off a Kaedan Korczak turnover. Moments later, Paul Cotter won a puck battle, and Jonathan Marchessault picked up the loose puck. Marchessault found Stephenson, who was able to beat Stuart Skinner to give the Golden Knights a two-goal lead.
The Oilers were frustrated by the Golden Knights defensive play. The Golden Knights did a great job of keeping the Oilers to the outside and keeping their high-danger chances to a minimum. Hill was up to the challenge when the Oilers got their high-danger chances.
William Karlsson ended the Oilers’ hope in history with an empty net goal.
There is a reasonable chance these two teams will meet again in the playoffs.
“We’d love to play Vegas in a playoff series again,” said McDavid. “These games are fun and entertaining. Both fanbases are great, and it makes for great hockey.”
Coach Bruce Cassidy welcomed Karlsson’s return:
“I thought he was pretty good. I thought Karlsson did a great job against McDavid. You have to if you’re going to beat Edmonton.”
Cassidy had this to say on the improved play by the Golden Knights from the second to third periods:
“We were better in the third because we got through it (the second period). You come into the room, and it’s 1-1. We didn’t play our best. We got the next goal early enough. It gave us some life.”
The important takeaway is the Golden Knights defeated an Oilers team with a lot on the line and did so without Jack Eichel and Shea Theodore. That will not sit well with the Oilers, who could end up playing the Golden Knights in the first round of the playoffs.