Home > NewsRelease > Knights on Ice — The VGK Hold McDavid, Draisaitl, and #1 Power Play Scoreless
Knights on Ice — The VGK Hold McDavid, Draisaitl, and #1 Power Play Scoreless
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For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Las Vegas, NV
Sunday, November 28, 2021


By the headline, you’d be correct in assuming that the VGK had a good night at T-Mobile against the Edmonton Oilers.

But that didn’t happen. The VGK self-imploded in the last 2 minutes and 10 seconds of the first period, allowing Edmonton to score twice on their last 2 shots of the period. Robin Lehner had stopped the first 14 Edmonton shots in the first 17:50, but when the horn sounded, Edmonton was leading 2-0 on 16 shots. Edmonton went on to win the game by a score of 3-2.

Neither Connor McDavid nor Leon Draisaitl had anything to do with the 2 goals and were completely shut down for the evening. Draisaitl is the leading scorer in the NHL (40 points: 20 G and 20 A) in just 20 games. McDavid is tied for 2nd place in scoring with Ovechkin; Connor has 36 points to start the season (14 G and 22 A). Last night was the first time this season that they both were held without a point in the same game.

The story that most hockey fans believe is that Edmonton can win only when McDavid and Draisaitl contribute to their offense. Edmonton allegedly lacks any depth beyond the top 6 forwards and the defense and goaltending are suspect. Last night, that theory blew up right in the face of the VGK who played well and were focused in the first part of the first period, but turnovers led directly to the first 2 Edmonton goals.

A pass from Max Pacioretty intended for Mark Stone was picked off and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was off on a 2-on-1 with only McNabb back. Nugent-Hopkins beat Lehner to his stick side, banging it in off of the far post, for the 1-0 lead.

With the clock winding down to end the first period, Mark Stone lost the puck along the left-wing boards in the Edmonton defensive end to a stick check by Cody Ceci, who pushed it up to Zach Kassian. Kassian found Zach Hyman streaking through the neutral zone. Stone made a gallant effort to track down Hyman and forced him to his backhand, a low-percentage shot. But it beat Lehner over his right shoulder for the late-period goal that was a big boost for Edmonton going into the locker room up 2-0.

Vegas has had slow starts in first periods this season, but last night was not the case. It was just a dreadful last 2:10 of the first period. They’ve also had mounted multiple comebacks from 2-goal deficits this season, but not last night. Edmonton put Vegas into a bigger hole than they’re used to by scoring on yet another breakaway, when Jesse Puljujarvi scored 6:39 into the 2nd period.

Vegas gallantly tried to get back into it. Chandler Stephenson scored 9:10 into the 2nd period for his 3rd goal in the last 3 games. Reilly Smith’s goal in the 3rd period cut it to 3-2, but that was as close as Vegas could get, as the Oilers’ often-questioned goaltending of the past was a distant memory. Mikko Koskinen was outstanding, stopping 36 of 38 shots.

I lost count on Edomonton’s breakaways and odd-man rushes. I ran out of fingers. You don’t often see it against the VGK, but it was on full display last night. The often-maligned Oiler defense, even without two of their top defensemen in Duncan Keith and Darnell Nurse, played well. Kris Russell had an Alec Martinez kind of night, blocking a game-high 6 shots.

Edmonton is a good transition team and last night that was clearly evident, not only to the VGK, but also the 18,381 in attendance at T-Mobile.

Vegas has now lost 2 of their 4 games with Edmonton. If they have any hopes of passing them in the Pacific Division, winning the remaining two will be critical. Both will be played in Edmonton on Jan 14 and April 16.

The only bright spot in the game was the penalty kill. The Oilers have the #1 power play unit in the league with a success rate of 39%, scoring 23 PPG in their first 20 games. Vegas held them scoreless in their 2 power plays. By comparison, the VGK have the worst power play in the league, scoring a grand total of 5 PPGs in their 22 games.

Vegas was 0-1 last night, but on that power play in the first period Vegas had the puck in the Edmonton end for 1:50 of the 2 minutes. They moved the puck around with precision and skill and had 2 glorious scoring chances, only to be denied by Koskinen. It was the best power play I’ve seen all season from the VGK, even though they didn’t score.

Other game notes and quotes. Kris Russell had six blocked shots to become the NHL’s all-time leader, with 2,003 blocked shots in 890 games, surpassing former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook (1,998). The NHL began tracking blocked shots in 2005-06.

“In the history of the game, nobody has blocked more shots than that,” Edmonton Coach Dave Tippett said. “If everyone knew how much that hurts … It’s incredible.”

The Oilers’ 15 wins through 20 games are the most they’ve had since 1983-84 (16-3 with one tie). They Edmonton the Stanley Cup that year.

“I loved our start,” Peter DeBoer said. “The first 12 minutes of the game we played exactly the way we wanted to play. We forechecked, we were direct, we didn’t turn pucks over. The last eight minutes of that first period, we did some of the things we didn’t want to do, which was take penalties, put them on the power play, and turn pucks over. It’s that simple.”

“They’re an opportunistic team and a team that you can’t give that many chances to, so we kind of shot ourselves in the foot with that,” Chandler Stephenson said. “It just needs to be better.”

“Not a lot of teams have kept those guys off the score sheet,” Reilly Smith said. “There’s more to that team than just two players. The three or four breakaways that we gave up, that’s what cost us.”

Even though it doesn’t seem like it, DeBoer coached in his 99th regular-season game with the Golden Knights. He is 67-28-4 since Vegas hired him Jan. 15, 2020.

My 3 Stars of the Game: Mikko Koskinen (36 saves on 38 shots), Jesse Puljujarvi (1G, the GWG, making it 3-0 and a hill that VGK couldn’t climb over), Reilly Smith (1G and 7 SOG and he continues to be a force every game, either making a case for the VGK to offer him a new contract next season or as some in the press box think just increasing his trade value)

Next game is Wednesday vs. Anaheim at the Honda Center, 7 p.m. Pacific Time

Your comments and opinions are welcome here at Las Vegas Advisor or you may contact me directly at [email protected] or on my Facebook page or the Facebook page of Vegas Hockey Guy or on Twitter @TheRealJoePane

One other note: If you’re reading this blog from Facebook or Twitter and would like to access it earlier in the morning before I share it on social media, it’s usually published by 8 a.m. the morning after a game on LasVegasAdvisor.com. What better way is there to enjoy your morning coffee than reading my take on last night’s VGK game.

Hyman goal that made it 2-0
Stephenson’s 8th of the year and 3rd goal in 3 games
Puljujarvi’s GWG
Smith goal that made it 3-2

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