Sun, 04 Jun 2023

After milestone night, Oilers face first-place Knights

Field Level Media
28 Mar 2023, 21:40 GMT+10

The Edmonton Oilers can close to within three points of the Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights with a victory on Tuesday night when the teams meet for the second time in four nights, this time in Las Vegas.

Vegas (46-21-6, 98 points) won the Saturday meeting 4-3 on a Nicolas Roy overtime goal in Edmonton. The Golden Knights then got two days off to rest up entering the Tuesday rematch.

The Oilers (42-23-9, 93 points), meanwhile, played the front end of a back-to-back on Monday in Tempe, Ariz., where they defeated the Arizona Coyotes 5-4. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored on a power-play with 7:55 remaining to break a 4-4 tie after the Oilers had surrendered a 4-2 lead earlier in the period.

"It's not a perfect game, but we walked out with two points and we will take it," Edmonton coach Jay Woodcroft said.

The game featured a couple of big milestones for Oilers stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

McDavid set up a Zach Hyman goal in the first period, resulting in his 80th assist and 140th point of the season. He became the first player since Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr in 1995-96 to reach the 140-point mark in a season and also just the seventh player in NHL history to register at least 60 goals and 80 assists in a season.

Draisaitl scored his 300th career goal and also had an assist. He became the fifth player in Edmonton history to score 300 goals, joining Wayne Gretzky (583), Jari Kurri (474), Glenn Anderson (417) and Mark Messier (392). McDavid (299) is on the verge of joining the group.

Vegas improved to 17-3-2 since the All-Star break with the win at Edmonton and enters the contest nursing a two-point lead over the second-place Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific.

The Kings and the Golden Knights each have nine games remaining, including an April 6 showdown in Las Vegas. The Oilers have eight games left.

Vegas center Jack Eichel, who has never played in a playoff game in his NHL career, had a goal and two assists in the Saturday win over the Oilers. He recorded the primary assist on Roy's winner 2:26 into overtime.

"Gutsy win for us," Eichel said. "I thought we played well. It's a really good team over there. They generate a lot of offense. I thought we did a good job for the most part of limiting them."

Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said of Eichel, who leads the team in goals (27) and points (58) and is second in plus/minus (plus-21), "He was in attack mode. Sometimes he gets a little on the outside and doesn't take control. Shot the puck, matched up with whomever he went out against."

Eichel, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2015 NHL Draft behind McDavid, has seven points (four goals, three assists) over his past four games.

Vegas will bring a four-game winning streak into the Tuesday contest and has won 11 of its past 13 games. Cassidy said he believes the team still has room for improvement, however.

"We're not where we want to be exactly, but we find ways to win, and I love that about our group," Cassidy said. "Whatever's needed that night, we seem to find a way to get to the finish line."

--Field Level Media

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