GAME STORY: Golden Knights 3, Oilers 2 (OT)
Mikko Koskinen's 45 saves couldn't lead the Oilers to victory in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Mondayby Jamie Umbach / EdmontonOilers.com
EDMONTON, AB - Mikko Koskinen was once again stellar in goal for the Edmonton Oilers, making 45 stops on 48 shots against the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday at Rogers Place after turning aside 45 more two nights prior in a victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
But after his exploits earned the Oilers the two points on Saturday, a similar outing from the Finnish netminder tonight could only net the Oilers a single in a 3-2 overtime defeat.
Koskinen posted his third-straight start for the Oilers with 40 or more saves in tonight's important Pacific Division battle, but Shea Theodore's overtime winner in a contest where the visitors doubled up the Oilers 48-24 in shots confirmed they'd tally the extra point and maintain top spot in the division.
In his last four games, Koskinen has parried away 142 of 147 shot attempts and played some of his best hockey as an Edmonton Oiler.
"It's tough to say," he said. "Every game is different, and of course for me, it's fun to play when I face a lot of shots."
In the dressing room, there's urgency from Oilers players to help out their netminders with more looks at goal.
"It's something that we have to fix right away," Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who scored his fourth goal in six games, said. "We went through a little stretch like this in December and found a way to get ourselves out of it."
The Oilers have been outshot in six of their last eight games since the NHL's Trade Deadline on February 24, but are 4-2-2 during that stretch.
"Obviously, without goaltending like we've had the last little while, it would probably be a different story," Nugent-Hopkins added. "But we're in a good spot. We've found ways to get out of playing like that, so we just have to find a way."
The Golden Knights improve their point total to 86 points -- three ahead of the Oilers, who have a game in hand with a 37-24-9 record.
Alex Chiasson scored his third goal in four games at the nine-minute mark of the first period to open the scoring, and Nugent-Hopkins added his 22nd of the season in the final frame to extend his home point streak to seven games (5G, 8A).
Video: POST-GAME RAW | Chiasson 03.09.20
"It's maybe a good adversity test for us here," Chiasson said. "Let's find a way for our group here to create some momentum and feel good about our game. That's where we're at."
A visit from the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday represents another important contest with playoff implications for the Oilers and an opportunity to rectify Monday's defeat.
"I told the group after that this is the most disconnected we've been in a long time, probably since that road trip in Carolina," Tippett said. "It's not just tonight's game I'm talking about. I'm talking about a number of games.
"We've got our first practice in a long time tomorrow and hopefully we can fix some of those issues. But we can't continue to play like that and feel like we're a good team."