Game 6 Notes: Vegas Golden Knights @ Edmonton Oilers
By Cam Lewis23 days ago
1. For the first time in these playoffs, the Edmonton Oilers are on the verge of elimination.
They were in the same situation in the first round last spring when the L.A. Kings went up 3-2 in the series. The Oilers had their backs up against the wall and won Game 6 in L.A. and then came home and played a very strong Game 7 and won the series with a 2-0 shutout.
Edmonton’s other game facing elimination last year came in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final when they were down 3-0 to the Colorado Avalanche. Leon Draisaitl had four assists and Connor McDavid had a goal and two points but the Avs pulled off a 6-5 win in overtime to finish the sweep.
2. A key for the Oilers in those do-or-die wins against the Kings last year was keeping the puck out of the net. Mike Smith stopped 59 of 61 shots in Edmonton’s Game 6 and 7 wins against L.A. and allowed six goals on 42 shots in their loss to Colorado.
Stuart Skinner has been pulled from a game three times in these playoffs and he’s come back with a win the next game each time. There was some talk that Jack Campbell should start Game 6 given his .957 save percentage in those three relief appearances but the Oilers have decided to start Skinner and hope for another bounce-back performance.
3. The first time Leon Draisaitl faced playoff elimination in his NHL career came in the second round of the 2017 playoffs against the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks had won Game 5 at home in double-overtime and the Oilers came back and won Game 6 at home led by Draisaitl scoring a hat trick and putting up five points.
After he scored six goals in the first two games of the series, the Golden Knights have held Draisaitl to just one assist between Games 3 and 5.
4. Jay Woodcroft has stacked McDavid and Draisaitl on a line together quite a bit in this series but the Dynamic Duo only has a 2-to-1 lead in goals over the Golden Knights when playing together at even-strength. At morning skate on Sunday, Draisaitl was centring a line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Kailer Yamamoto while McDavid had Zach Hyman and Evander Kane on his wings.
The Oilers will have to find a way to shut down Jack Eichel’s line if they’re going to come back and win this series. Eichel has outscored the Oilers 6-to-1 at even strength and three of those goals came when he went head-to-head against Nick Bjugstad’s line. Edmonton’s only centre who’s not in the red against Eichel is McDavid. The top two picks from the 2015 draft have one goal each during the 15:48 they’ve played against each other at even strength.
Draisaitl has dominated the trio of Chandler Stephenson, Mark Stone, and Brett Howden in this series, so maybe we’ll see McDavid take heavier minutes against Eichel, Ivan Barbashev, and Jonathan Marchessault in Game 6 since Edmonton has the last change.
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