The Oilers will look to wrap up their five game road trip on a high note as they head into Vegas to face the Pacific-leading Golden Knights.
Normally, you’d think of going to Vegas as a trip to get away from your troubles, pretend you’re ballin’ for a day or two, and make a few careless life choices. For the Edmonton Oilers, they’re rolling into Las Vegas to face an expansion team that is absolutely dummying them in the standings and making what they’re doing look like bad finger painting. Who would have seen this coming? How is it that a team with plenty of ‘who the hell are these people’ is ripping up the league and the one with Connor McDavid is floundering near the bottom of the standings? It doesn’t make sense, but that’s where we’re at.
One thing you’ll notice during tonight’s game is that the Golden Knights are relentless on the forecheck and a do a really good job of supporting each other with the puck. Their passes are quick, on the tape, and they do a good job of moving the puck up the ice effectively. They don’t seem to incessantly try and force cross ice passes through like the Oilers do, and they certainly aren’t as prone to giveaways at both blue lines either. Those things may be small details, but are certainly contributing factors to what’s going right for Vegas and wrong for Edmonton.
For as much flack as the Golden Knights took this summer, they’re exceeding expectations by a country mile by being a team that plays a smart, simple game and does it with max effort. While the top end talent levels are certainly higher with the Oilers, the give a shit/60 is where the Golden Knights really shine and that’s been the difference all season. I never thought I’d say that the Oilers could learn a thing or two about competing from the Vegas Golden Knights but that’s where we’re at, and school is in session.
NUMBERS TO KNOW…
- Here we are, on January 13th, and the Vegas Golden Knights are over 20 points ahead of the Oilers in the standings. Who would have seen that coming? Most people assumed the Golden Knights would be a garbage crew of a team, but here they are, running away with the Pacific Division.
- The Golden Knights have allowed 32 fewer goals than the Oilers this season. If that’s not an alarming stat then I don’t know what is. In fact, the goal differentials between these two teams is almost completely opposite as the Oilers’ -22 (123GF, 145GA) is a complete disaster compared to the Golden Knights’ +30 (143GF, 113GA).
- Coming into tonight’s game, the Golden Knights have a 9-1-0 record in their last 10 games and have outscored their opponents by a margin of 36-18 over that span. Needless to say, they are absolutely murdering the competition and it’s not really close. If the Oilers have any hopes of heading into the break on a winning streak, they have to make sure they buck the trend of spotting the other team two early goals. Just be ready to play.
The Oilers haven’t put any lineups out yet, but I’ll be sure to update as news comes out. What’s shown above is what they went with against the Predators.
You’re telling me that a team with Brad Hunt is actually leading the Pacific Division? The Hockey Gods are taunting us, aren’t they?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
The Golden Knights are incredibly consistent when they are in command of the game. Also, when they have stumbled, Vegas still finds ways to pick up points. Eight games this season the team never held a lead, but somehow managed to pick up four points. The key number for the Golden Knights is 20. When they maintain a lead for 20+ minutes, Vegas is almost unstoppable (19-2).
Not quite 35+ shots on goal, but hey, they can’t always be perfect.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers coast into Vegas ready for their bye week and drop this contest by a 4-2 margin.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The game will be over and the boys will be showered, dressed, and hatting the casino floors by midnight. Lappers to come around 3:30am.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Connor McDavid decides to kick off his 21st birthday with a little prank. He tells the boys that he’s upset about the season and wants to spend a nice, quiet night in. He says, “Vegas is overrated. I just want to order some room service, have a nice Bambus, and take a warm bath.” McDavid waits for everyone to leave, laughs to himself, and chases them down the hallway, throwing funny money at everybody. Everyone laughs and they are reminded of the friendship between them.
Take home a growler, a crowler, a sixer, a mixer, whatever. Sherbrooke Liquor. Where’s Your Beer?
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 1/13/2018, 12:00pm MST