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Oilers at Golden Knights preview

Edmonton can tie for Pacific Division lead; Vegas goes for seventh straight win

by Danny Webster / Independent Correspondent

OILERS (33-22-8) at GOLDEN KNIGHTS (34-22-8)

10:30 p.m. ET; ATTSN-RM, SNW, NHL.TV


The Game

The Edmonton Oilers will try to tie the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the Pacific Division when they meet at T-Mobile Arena on Wednesday.

The Oilers, 5-2-2 in their past nine games and 12-5-3 in their past 20, are tied with the Vancouver Canucks for second place in the Pacific, two points behind the Golden Knights.

Vegas eyes its seventh consecutive victory; its season-long six-game winning streak also is the longest active stretch in the NHL. The Golden Knights are 9-2-1 in their past 12 games after going 1-5-1 in their previous seven games.

Nick Cousins will make his debut for Vegas after the forward was acquired in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens on Monday.

Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury will start; Robin Lehner, acquired in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday, will be the backup.


Players to watch

Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (37 goals, 62 assists) is one point from his second consecutive 100-point season. He has scored a goal in three consecutive games.

Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty has six points (three goals, three assists) in a four-game point streak.


They said it

"It's a really big hockey game. All hockey games are big for us right now. It's a tight race. Tonight is a big one." -- Oilers captain Connor McDavid

"They'll be a good challenge. They're already a fast team and skilled team up front. They added depth, added speed [acquiring forwards Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Ennis in trades on Monday]. It'll be fun." -- Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury


Oilers projected lineup

Tyler Ennis -- Connor McDavid -- Andreas Athanasiou

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Leon Draisaitl -- Josh Archibald

Markus Granlund -- Riley Sheahan -- Alex Chiasson

Jujhar Khaira -- Gaetan Haas -- Patrick Russell

Darnell Nurse -- Ethan Bear

Caleb Jones -- Adam Larsson

William Lagesson -- Mike Green

Mikko Koskinen

Mike Smith

Scratched: Matt Benning

Injured: Kailer Yamamoto (ankle), Oscar Klefbom (shoulder), Kris Russell (concussion), James Neal (foot), Joakim Nygard (hand)

Suspended: Zack Kassian


Golden Knights projected lineup

Jonathan Marchessault -- Paul Stastny -- Reilly Smith

Max Pacioretty -- William Karlsson -- Mark Stone

Nick Cousins -- Chandler Stephenson -- Nicolas Roy

William Carrier -- Tomas Nosek -- Ryan Reaves

Brayden McNabb -- Nate Schmidt

Alec Martinez -- Shea Theodore

Nick Holden -- Zach Whitecloud

Marc-Andre Fleury

Robin Lehner

Scratched: Deryk Engelland, Jon Merrill

Injured: Alex Tuch (lower body)


Status report

Edmonton did not hold a morning skate Wednesday. … Cousins is expected to skate at left wing on the third line. … Martinez, who played on the third pair in his first three games with Vegas, will play with Theodore on the second pair.


Stat pack

The Oilers and Golden Knights will meet twice more after Wednesday (March 9 and 31, each at Edmonton). … McDavid has 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in nine games against Vegas. … Karlsson, who had a hat trick at the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, is two goals shy of 100 in the NHL. … Martinez has four points (two goals, two assists) in three games since Vegas acquired him in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 19.

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