(Las Vegas) The Edmonton Oilers are looking to tame the multi-headed behemoth that are the Vegas Golden Knights after losing Game 1 of a series for the second time in two rounds this year.
Beaten 6-4, the Oilers will look Saturday to ensure they go home tied in the series.
Game 3 is Monday in Edmonton.
The Golden Knights present a different challenge than the Los Angeles Kings posed in the first round.
The aggressiveness of the Knights and their quick transitions make the offensive phases more difficult for the Oilers.
“The Kings are a pretty unique team. In their neutral zone, they don’t put a lot of pressure, forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins explained. They are always attacking. You have to be able to adapt right away. We will be ready. »
The Golden Knights are also able to keep pace with the Oilers when their offense kicks into high gear.
“We know we’ve been the best team since about the beginning of March,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said.
“We also know that the Knights have been the second most efficient since that time. They have advantages, including being able to count on several markers. »
“I played eight or nine series and I think we won game one once,” Nugent-Hopkins said. The way to react is crucial. We will give our maximum. »
The Oilers’ power plays continue to be their strength with a nearly 58% playoff conversion rate, but the Golden Knights had the answer in the curtain raiser.
They replied to Leon Draisaitl’s two superiority goals via nets from Ivan Barbashev, 40 and 66 seconds later.
The Golden Knights were the least penalized team in the league in the regular season—so Edmonton might have few chances with the one-skater advantage.
Calder runner-up Stuart Skinner stabilized as Game 1 unfolded.
“I think I made good saves in key moments,” Skinner said.
The NHL’s top scorer in the regular season, Connor McDavid threaded the needle only once in the playoffs, but he had nine assists.