The red hot Vegas Golden Knights (14-4-0) were in Edmonton on Saturday night for the first meeting between two of the top three teams in the Pacific Division. Allegedly, anyway. Currently Edmonton sits fourth at 9-8-0 after what can only be described as an uneven start to the 2022-23 campaign. Vegas, on the other hand, have won 14 of 18 to start the year and have been turning aside all comers all season.
The Oilers enjoyed a near-perfect start to the first period. Within the first two minutes, Warren Foegele — currently enjoying the benefits of a promotion to Leon Draisaitl’s wing — got the hosts on the board after stuffing home a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins rebound. 1-1. LFG.
Vegas drew the game’s first penalty on the ensuing shift, but Stuart Skinner and the Oilers PK did just enough to avoid conceding. The Golden Knights did seem to capture a bit of momentum from the man advantage, however, and eventually drew the game’s second penalty as well. Again, Edmonton’s PK stood tall.
A few shifts later, Edmonton drew their first penalty of the game thanks to some nifty hands work from Ryan McLeod. They were credited with 1 SOG. It wasn’t their best power play. But it did help them find their footing back into the game, as their next few shifts helped re-establish their game at 5v5.
Unfortunately, Vegas got the equalizer anyway. A Shea Theodore wrist shot hit Keegan Kolesar in the back and fooled Skinner. 1-1.
The Oilers responded pretty well after giving up the tying goal, but couldn’t stick their noses in front again before the end of the period. 1-1 after 20 minutes. SOGs were 10-9 in favor of Edmonton.
It was all action to start the second period, and before you could say “Who the hell is Klim Kostin?” the Oilers were caught napping by Jack Eichel and Mark Stone, who combined to draw a penalty shot from Ryan Murray and the Twelve Million Dollar Man.
Stone made no mistake on said penalty shot, casually beating Skinner through the gates to put Vegas in front. 1-2.
A few shifts after that, Vegas went back on the power play via an Evan Bouchard high stick. Again, Edmonton’s PK did its job, which would prove important as they would find the game-tying goal a few moments later.
Leon Draisaitl, from down on one knee in his office, lifted one over the flailing Adin Hill to culminate a wonderful little passing play — and an especially nice pass from Darnell Nurse to set him up. 2-2. LFG.
The Oilers found themselves back on the power play a few minutes later after Kolesar took exception to a Klim Shady hit on Brett Howden. Unfortunately, the Oilers couldn’t really get settled on the man advantage and the chance went begging. Put it this way. The PP ended with Nurse and Bouchard out together. It wasn’t great.
The last couple of minutes passed without major incident — Alec Martinez took a penalty with less than a minute remaining but the Oilers couldn’t find a goal — and the two teams went into the break all square at 2-2. Vegas had a slim lead on the shot clock (22-17) but Edmonton had been getting the better of the 5v5 play, sporting a ~60% 5v5 xGF% after two periods.
Edmonton started the third period on the remnants of a PP, and this time they were able to make Vegas pay. The puck eventually found its way to Connor McDavid in the high slot to arrange just so on a chafing dish for Zach Hyman to one-time into the (mostly) open net. 3-2. LFG.
Vegas started to push back immediately following the goal but Edmonton eventually stabilized a couple of shifts later. They did require a couple of really strong saves from Skinner to get through it, but they got them.
The stabilization only lasted about a shift, unfortunately, and Vegas continued to push for their third goal. Edmonton’s grip on the game started to fail them, and the visitors drew level. A potentially harsh icing that drifted very close to Shea Theodore was given and the Golden Knights scored on the ensuing OZ draw. Mark Stone. 3-3.
From there it was basically all Vegas through the end of regulation. Fortunately, Edmonton was able to hang on and get the point over the line.
It took about a minute. And then, Connor McDavid decided.
CCCCCOOOOONNNOOOOOOORRRRRR MMMCCCCDDDDAAAAAAAVVVVIIIIIIDDDDDD— Copper & Blue (@CopperandBlue) November 20, 2022
WHAT IN THE ABSOLUTE SHIT
(ETHAN) BEAR WITNESS
MY HEART IS ATTACKING ME
connor mcdavid are you kidding me!!!!! pic.twitter.com/J2tvE3C0Pc— zach (@zjlaing) November 20, 2022
4-3. Final. (OT).
Maybe the league’s best team, the New Jersey Devils. Monday night. 5PM MST. LFG.