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GAME RECAP: Vegas 4, Edmonton 0

Oilers shut out in dud effort against division-leading Golden Knights

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

Following the All-Star break, which saw two of the home team boys off to Vegas, the Edmonton Oilers were at home to take on the Vegas Golden Knights.

Oilers lineup vs. Golden Knights:

Kane - McDavid - Yamamoto
McLeod - Draisaitl - Kassian
Hyman - RNH - Puljujarvi
Foegele - Shore - Ryan

Nurse - Bouchard
Keith - Ceci
Lagesson - Barrie

Smith

Mike Smith returns to the lineup after his second lengthy absence of the season, and his return is doubly important with the news that Mikko Koskinen is in COVID protocols. Also, Evander Kane made his home debut for Edmonton in this one and he said he’s feeling better and better as every game passes.

First Period

While the Oilers control the play for the first 10 minutes of the period, a blown defensive coverage in the neutral zone results in Brett Howden walking in on a partial break snapping one five-hole on Mike Smith. 1-0 Vegas, and the Oilers have given up the first goal of the game for a league-leading 31st time this season.

Late in the period, Shea Theodore is called for interference on Connor McDavid. And... the Oilers give up a shorthanded 2 on 0, which ends up with a Karlsson goal. Vegas takes a 2-0 lead as its the only goal scored on the powerplay. P.S. Will Tyson Barrie ever get a shot through traffic again?

Second Period

To start the second, the Oilers head to the penalty kill quickly after Ceci nicks Mark Stone. However, Mike Smith makes a few tough saves to keep the deficit at two. But the luck quickly runs out, as a missed net in the Vegas end and a blown clear by Barrie ends up with a Pietrangelo goal. 3-0 Vegas.

Zack Kassian’s inexplicable elevation to the second line, unless to boost his trade value, has not paid off for Dave Tippett in this game. On two odd-man rushes, Kassian held the puck for far too long and didn’t get a shot on net either time (despite some favourable looks).

Stephenson flicks his stick, nicking Leon Draisaitl in the chin. The powerplay, once again, yields no results.

Max Pacioretty interferes with Connor McDavid, his second drawn call of the game and league-leading 28th drawn penalty. Patches and McDavid sure had words about that call as well, and if you’re a lip-reader, it was an easy one to read from McDavid. No shots on the powerplay though, and the Oilers are now 0 for 3 with the man advantage. Two posts for their troubles, however.

Third Period

Sloppy play in the defensive zone, again, and Reilly Smith scores 14 seconds into the third period to give the Golden Knights a 4-0 lead.

And that’s all she wrote for the Oilers, who drop a decisive game to Vegas. Back at it again tomorrow against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Author’s notes:

  • The ineptitude of the Oilers defence cost them the first three goals. The unit is honestly horrible, and I think that’s as much on the coaching as it is players.
  • There isn’t a goalie on the roster who can overcome the defensive play of this group. Especially since Mike Smith can’t stay healthy anymore, and appeared to be nicked up again tonight. At this point, they might as well give Skinner an extended look in the starter’s role.
  • Best line of the night was Hyman-RNH-Puljuljarvi, who all played well from my point of view. Third line on paper, first line on effort.
  • Beyond his contract, Kassian has not earned to be in this lineup on a nightly basis. I would hazard to say there’s probably four forwards in the Oilers system who can play more effectively than he can at this point.
  • Vegas is the class of the Pacific division, and might be unstoppable when Jack Eichel returns from injury. Craig MacTavish saying that the Oilers are going to be first in the division? Dreaming.