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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Vegas Golden Knights

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Oilers play tail end of back-to-back at home against Vegas

NHL: Vegas Golden Knights at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers (9-9-1) (5th, Pacific)

Vegas Golden Knights (8-11-1) (6th, Pacific)

Rogers Place

6 PM MDT

TV: Sportsnet

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Knights on Ice

FOUR UNANSWERED

Just two minutes into the first period, it would be Alex Chiasson who would score his seventh goal of the season to get the party started. Chiasson’s goal would come while the Oilers were shorthanded. Connor McDavid would score his tenth of the year on the power play to make it 2-0 Oilers early on in the second. It would be all that the Oilers would amass. The Flames would get goals from Derek Ryan, Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm to roar back to a 3-2 lead, while Lindholm would score an empty-netter late in the third to seal the deal. Calgary takes round one of this year’s BOA by a 4-2 score, in what was an extremely frustrating way to lose a game.

The Oilers are back in action this afternoon as the Vegas Golden Knights pay a visit to Rogers Place for Edmonton’s 20th game of the year. Can Edmonton forget all about their loss to Calgary last night and put a W up on the board?

Oh, that’s just Matthew Tkachuk on top of Connor McDavid. This has got to be some kind of mistake. See, this team has a cadre of players who are feared by the opposition, so there’s absolutely no way that this would happen to the Oilers.

Kassian probably feels really good unloading here on Tkachuk, but Tkachuk never dropped his gloves. Kassian had 26 total minutes of penalties on the night, but the Flames would take a 4-2 victory to the standings. What does it all mean?

Deterrence doesn’t work.

Let’s go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

“They’re a really good comeback team and we knew that...Today it was just those little things that we didn’t do in the third that you have to do to win. It’s as simple as that.”

Source

That’s Oilers defenceman Adam Larsson after last night’s 4-2 loss to the Calgary Flames.

The Oilers were 8-4-1 just two weeks ago. Today, they’re 9-9-1. They’ve lost five of their last six, and they need a win in the worst way today.

The Golden Knights are saying

“You’re wondering if you’ve done everything you can do in the last month in a half...I feel good to go. I’ve been working for this for quite some time. And I feel fresh, which is the most important, especially at the 20-game mark.

Source

That’s Golden Knights defenceman Nate Schmidt, who will likely make his season debut for Vegas today in Edmonton. Schmidt was off the roster for the club’s first 20 games after violating the NHL’s substance abuse policy.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • A ONE LINE TEAM?: The McLellan line blender is in full effect. Ryan Spooner played his first game as an Oiler alongside Leon Draisaitl and Ty Rattie yesterday without much fanfare, while Cooper Marody got a chance to play centre on a third line with Alex Chiasson and Milan Lucic. Leon and McDavid are a heck of a top line tandem, but it seems like the rest of the forwards are just throwing darts while blindfolded.
  • GAME 20: This is the 20th game of the 2018-19 season for the Oilers. Along the way, there’s been a four game win streak. Right now, they’re fighting though a series of games where they’ve got just one win in six. A win tonight would put them around the fringes of a wild card in the Western Conference. A loss will see them dip to sixth in the Pacific. People a lot smarter than myself have suggested that the 20 game mark is a fairly good time to assess where the team is on the season, and I think we’d be doing ourselves a disservice if we suggest that we’re not surprised at what we see. The Oilers need to put some wins together during this series of games against the Pacific, else it’s going to get muddy quick.
  • VEGAS GROUNDED? The Golden Knights have just eight wins on the season after going to the Stanley Cup Finals last season. Usually you have to win the Stanley Cup before having the opportunity to have the Stanley Cup hangover, but things have changed. Vegas ranked fifth overall in 2017-18 in goals scored per game. Today, they’re a paltry 29th.
  • NET GAINS: Cam Talbot (5-7-1, .895 SV% / 3.09 GAA ) looks to get back between the pipes tonight for the Oilers. Expect Marc-Andre Fleury to start for the Golden Knights (8-8-1, .901 SV% / 2.60 GAA / 3 SO)
  • SICK BAY: The Oilers are without Andrej Sekera (ankle) and Tobias Rieder (upper body). The Golden Knights are without Erik Haula (lower body) and Paul Stasty (lower body)