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Oilers 8, Golden Knights 2: 3 Takeaways

Oilers win lopsided affair; Golden Knights now 10-6-1

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

It's not a fun part of hockey.

It's the nights that you hope never happen. And if they do, you hope they're few and far in between. Although no matter how much you know it's inevitable that they happen at least a few times in the long run, they always stink to be part of.

Lopsided losses.

To the Golden Knights' credit, there has hardly been a game all season that this team hasn't been in. In fact, in each of Vegas' first 16 games, this team has either been ahead, tied or within one goal during the third period.

But not on Tuesday in Edmonton.

The Oilers scored three times in the first period, and the outcome was never really in doubt as Vegas lost 8-2 at Rogers Place.

The Golden Knights are now 10-6-1, and will next be in action on Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks.

Here are three immediate takeaways from Tuesday's game.

Video: VGK@EDM: Neal tucks in a goal from close range

 

1. Must Start Better

As of late, the Golden Knights have had a real problem in first periods on the road.

Starting with Oscar Kelfbom's shorthanded goal 6:28 into the first period, Edmonton blitzed Vegas early on. By the time Ryan Nugen-Hopkins and Patrick Maroon scored 57 seconds apart late in the first period, the game was, for all intents and purposes, over.

Vegas similarly fell behind 2-0 in the first period in its most recent road game in Montreal, and 3-1 was the deficit through 20 minutes in the road game before that in Toronto.

If there's any bright spot, it's that the Golden Knights have been relatively strong after the first period in their last three road games.

For a team that has started so impressively in games at home, however, its starts have to be better on the road.

Vegas' start tonight dug a hole that couldn't be dug out of. And the Oilers, smelling blood, moved in for the kill.

 

Video: VGK@EDM: Bellemare picks the corner on Talbot

 

2. McDavid Dominated

Going into the game, the Golden Knights knew how good Connor McDavid was. They knew how dangerous he was.

Vegas knew Connor McDavid is the league's reigning MVP, and scored 100 points as a 19-year-old last season.

The Golden Knights knew this player had to be stopped.

But McDavid broke through anyway. The great players do that sometimes.

McDavid finished with two goals and an assist, and was undoubtedly the best player on the ice all night.

 

Video: VGK@EDM: Lagace makes a great save on Kassian

 

As a team, Vegas knows it doesn't have high-end offensive players on the level of McDavid, and have defeated teams like this earlier this season by limiting the time and space of superstars, and outworking opponents.

That didn't happen tonight.

And for a player that figures to face the Golden Knights dozens-if not hundreds- of times over the next two decades, Vegas will learn to have to manage Edmonton's captain better moving forward.

 

Tweet from @GoldenKnights: given that we play in the same division, it's honestly TERRIFYING how many more times we have to play against McDavid in the next 20 years.������������

 

If not, there may be several more long nights like we saw on Tuesday.


3. Can't Be Psyched Out

It's been such a split for the Golden Knights.

Since opening the season with two straight wins on the road, Vegas has gone 1-5-1 away from home. This is in contrast to 7-1-0 at home.

There's many elements of this.

Sure, the Golden Knights aren't aided by the rollicking Vegas crowd on the road. And sure, the team has tangibly gotten off to bad starts on the road and gotten significantly better goaltending at home.

These are actual differences in how the team has played that don't really have much to do with game play as they start getting in a team's head.

We can't really say if losing on the road has gotten in this team's heads at this point. But for a team that plays away from T-Mobile Arena 32 more times this season, it'll have to shake this bugaboo sooner rather than later if it hopes to make the playoffs.

The bad news is the Golden Knights player another game on the road before returning home to face the Kings on Sunday.

The good news is that facing another divisional rival on Thursday in Vancouver, all Vegas has to do is defeat the Canucks on Thursday to split this trip and arriving home feeling good about itself.

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