Game Notes: Vegas Golden Knights @ Edmonton Oilers
Photo credit:© Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis8 months ago
The Edmonton Oilers have 10 games left remaining on their schedule and four of those are against the two teams they’re chasing in the Pacific Division standings.
The Oilers are currently in third in the division, two points back of the L.A. Kings, who have a game in hand, and six points back of the Vegas Golden Knights, who have the same amount of games played. If the Oilers want to have home-ice advantage in the playoffs, they need to win these four-point games against L.A. and Vegas.
The chase starts tonight as the Oilers are hosting the Golden Knights for a Hockey Night in Canada game in Edmonton.
1. Golden Knights captain Mark Stone left a game against the Florida Panthers on January 12 in the first period with an upper-body injury and has since been placed on the Long-Term Injured Reserve. Vegas then proceeded to lose seven of their next eight games and appeared to be in a freefall without their best two-way forward.
But since the All-Star break, the Golden Knights have been on fire. They’ve gone 16-3-2 since the beginning of February, good for a points percentage of .810 which has been matched by only the Boston Bruins over the same period of time.
2. The Oilers went 20-16-2 during October, November, and December but completely turned their season around when the calendar flipped to 2023 and have gone 21-7-6 through January, February, and March.
Despite Edmonton’s strong run, they only gained four points on both the Golden Knights and Kings during that period of time. Since the start of January, the Oilers, Kings, and Golden Knights all rank in the top eight in the league in terms of points percentage…
This ultimately just goes to show how important the head-to-head games with Vegas and L.A. are for the Oilers when it comes to climbing up the standings. Both the Kings and Golden Knights have been playing well these past few months and if the Oilers are going to jump them in the standings, it’ll be because they won these four-point games, not because of the Out of Town Scoreboard.
3. Another surprising thing about Vegas’ run over the past couple of months is that they’ve been winning despite navigating multiple injuries to their goaltending tandem.
Back on February 9, the Golden Knights’ second game coming out of the All-Star Break, Thompson left the third period of the team’s win over the Minnesota Wild and was later placed on the Injured Reserve. Hill stepped in and played well in Thompson’s but suffered a lower-body injury of his own and hasn’t played since March 9.
Vegas picked up some goaltending insurance ahead of the trade deadline by acquiring veteran Jonathan Quick, who had been dumped by the L.A. Kings a few days earlier. Through seven games with Vegas, Quick has posted a .909 save percentage, a pretty big upgrade from the .876 save percentage he had posted with the Kings this season. Also, 23-year-old Jiri Patera was called up from the AHL and stopped 65 of the 70 shots he faced in his first two games in the NHL.
On Thursday, Thompson made his return to the Golden Knights’ net against the Calgary Flames and stopped 37 of the 39 shots he faced but left in the third period with a lower-body injury. He returned to Vegas and isn’t currently with the team in Edmonton.
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