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Golden Knights At Oilers: 3 Keys To The Game

Tuesday's game starts at 6:00 PM (PT). It can be seen on AT&T SportsNet. This is Cox channels 313 (SD) and 1313 (HD), DIRECTV channel 684, U-verse channels 757 (SD) and 1757 (HD), and CenturyLink channels 760 (SD) and 1760 (HD).

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

As much as the Golden Knights are meeting a new division rival tonight, they're meeting a specific player.

Connor McDavid.

The consensus top offensive player in the NHL today, McDavid is one of the true superstar players in hockey today, and is certainly the face of the Edmonton Oilers, if not the entire NHL.

Meeting McDavid and the Oilers for the first time at Rogers Place tonight, Vegas is faced with a tall task. Especially as a team that acknowledges that it's without superstars, and requires hard work and teamwork to overcome the opposition.

Tuesday's game can be seen at 6:00 PM (PT) It can be seen on AT&T SportsNet.

This is Cox channels 313 (SD) and 1313 (HD), DIRECTV channel 684, U-verse channels 757 (SD) and 1757 (HD), and CenturyLink channels 760 (SD) and 1760 (HD).

Dave Goucher and Shane Hnidy will have all the action.

Dan D'Uva will be calling the game on FOX Sports Radio. This is 98.9 FM and 1340 AM.

Here are three keys to tonight's game.

Video: Gerard Gallant checks in ahead of matchup vs. Oilers

 

1. Not Quite McLovin' This

The Oilers are a team in a bit of an interesting position.

Connor McDavid, the league's reigning 20-year-old MVP, is probably the most dynamic player in the game today.

A year after leading the NHL with 100 points (30G, 70A), McDavid is again performing at better than a point per game level. The center is probably the fastest player in the league, possesses tremendous vision and makes everyone around him better.

As someone who figures to be in the Golden Knights' division for many years to come, McDavid also stands to be a longtime nemesis for Vegas, that goes beyond this season, this decade and maybe even beyond the next decade.

In the long run, this is a player that will have nights that hurt the Golden Knights. No question. Maybe even Vegas seasons he'll ruin.

But this year, on these Oilers, he's remarkably part of a one-dimensional attack.

This team that had one of the league's most intimidating offenses a year ago has scored a league-worst 38 goals in 17 games this season.

Or in other words: McDavid has a point on 51 percent of his team's goals.

It stands to reason: Stop the line of McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Patrick Maroon, and Vegas has a good chance to win on Tuesday.

 

Video: Hunt will face his former team on Tuesday in Edmonton

 

2. Kick The Oilers When They're Down

After riding Connor McDavid's coattails to their first playoff berth since 2005-06 last season, the Oilers seemed to be a team on the rise entering this season.

Their trip to second round of the playoffs last spring, coupled with the explosive nature of their emerging young talents, even led many experts to choose the Oilers as their preseason pick to win the Pacific Division, if not the entire Western Conference.

While McDavid and running mate Leon Draisaitl have held up their end of the bargain, most of their teammates haven't.
Milan Lucic has only three goals. Ryan Strome, acquired from the New York Islanders in the offseason for Jordan Eberle, has only two.

Without contributions from beyond their top line, the Oilers offense has struggled, planting Edmonton in seventh out of eight teams in the Pacific Division with a record of 6-9-2.

"You can quote me on this," defenseman Nate Schmidt said. "I think they're a team that's going to be there at the end of the year. 

"No matter what their record is, they're a good team."

If it stands to reason that the Oilers have too much talent to not be one of the beasts of the Pacific Division, it would serve Vegas well to take advantage of Edmonton when it's not at its best.

 

Video: Karlsson scores two as Golden Knights top Jets, 5-2

 

3. Oh The Road

For the Golden Knights, this has been a Tale of Two Seasons.

At home, Vegas has won its last six games and is 7-1-0. The Golden Knights have looked sharp, scored goals by the bucket load and gotten superb goaltending, even from fourth string Maxime Lagace, at T-Mobile Arena.

On the road, however, the Golden Knights are a very pedestrian 3-4-1. And coming off a 1-4-1 road trip that concluded last week, the last time Vegas played away from T-Mobile Arena, it was undoubtedly struggling.

With road games in Edmonton and Vancouver this week, and playing three of their next four games overall away from home, the Golden Knights have to meet this challenge head on.

Especially against division rivals.

Especially with Lagace still in goal for the foreseeable future, with none of the team's other three (injured) goalies yet skating with the team.

A lot of overcoming this challenge is confidence.

In their two most recent road games, the Golden Knights were behind by two goals by the end of the first period. Maybe getting off to a better start, especially against a struggling Oilers team trying to find its own way, is the key to carrying the night tonight.

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