Connor McDavid extended his multi-point streak to eight games and Leon Draisaitl scored his 43rd of the year but the Oilers dropped a 6-3 decision to the Vegas Golden Knights
LAS VEGAS, NV - The Oilers were unable to secure the weekend road sweep on Sunday as they were defeated 6-3 by the Vegas Golden Knights.
One night after posting a 3-2 overtime victory in Arizona, the Oilers battled back multiple times against Vegas but eventually bowed out to the defending Western Conference champs, snapping a four-game road winning streak.
"That's a team that comes at you in waves," said Sam Gagner, who recorded an assist in the loss. "They're a hard team to play against and force you into turnovers. We did a good job making them turn it over and play in their end, but just not enough of it."
"They forced us into a lot of puck errors because of their ability to pressure us," echoed Head Coach Ken Hitchcock. "Their tempo was higher than ours. They play at a tempo that's hard to match. They're deep and they come at you with four lines… They were on top of us for a lot of the night."
It was an action-packed opening frame that featured three goals and plenty of prime scoring opportunities on both directions. The Golden Knights grabbed the extra goal of the first, though, and carried a 2-1 advantage into the intermission.
The home side came out hot and applied plenty of pressure on the Oilers in the early stages, eventually opening the scoring at the 5:40 mark when William Karlsson found Mark Stone in the slot for his 31st goal of the season and first on home ice since the Golden Knights acquired him from the Ottawa Senators before the trade deadline.
The Oilers were able to net the equalizer 13:14 when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins buried his 23rd of the season. With Colin Miller in the Sin City sin bin for hooking, Oscar Klefbom passed the puck from the point to Connor McDavid along the board and the captain found Nugent-Hopkins for a rocket wrister from the high slot past Malcolm Subban.
Milan Lucic provided a screen in front of the Vegas netminder after he subbed out usual net-front presence Alex Chiasson in the latter stages of the man advantage.
Zack Kassian rang a shot off the iron in the opening frame as well, while Leon Draisaitl had a chance in alone on Subban but his five-hole attempt slid just wide of the cage.
The Oilers were 55 seconds away from heading to the break with a 1-1 tie, but Cody Eakin had other plans as he flew down the left wing and sniped a wrist shot top shelf on Mikko Koskinen's glove-hand side to give the Golden Knights the lead through 20 minutes.
The goals kept coming fast and furious to start the middle frame as the teams exchanged tallies in the opening 2:12 before tightening up from there, allowing the Golden Knights to maintain their one-goal cushion through 40 minutes.
It took just 22 seconds for the Oilers to net the equalizer after they earned an offensive zone faceoff shortly after the opening draw. On the faceoff, Karlsson initially gained control of the puck but McDavid whacked it away from him right to Draisaitl in front of the net. The team's leading goal scorer did what he does best and deposited his 43rd of the season.
The tying tally brought Draisaitl back within five of the league lead held by Washington's Alex Ovechkin, as he netted a pair on Saturday against Tampa Bay. On the setup, McDavid extended his multi-point game streak to eight, becoming the first player to reach that achievement since Vincent Lecavalier did so in November 2007.
The deadlock was short-lived, however, as Jonathan Marchessault beat Koskinen with a high wrist shot 1:50 after Draisaitl's goal to make it a 3-2 game in favour of the home side.
Marchessault didn't stop with one, extending the Vegas lead to 4-2 just 40 seconds into the third period. He also tallied a pair of goals when the Golden Knights beat Edmonton 6-3 in their first meeting of the season on Nov. 18 at Rogers Place.
Facing a two-goal deficit for the first time, the Oilers continued to battle and cut the Vegas lead to 4-3 at the 5:52 mark when Kris Russell's point-shot blast got past Subban. Sam Gagner and Jujhar Khaira picked up the assists on Russell's third of the season.
The Golden Knights kept coming, though, as they made it 5-3 at the 9:45 mark when Brayden McNabb's point shot snuck through Koskinen's pads and trickled over the line. The Oilers issued a coach's challenge for goaltender interference, but after a lengthy review the officials did not overturn their initial call and the goal stood.
Alex Tuch added a late Vegas tally to complete the offensive onslaught for the home squad, who out-shot the Oilers 34-19 on the night.
"We did keep pushing, but that's a good team and it's hard to come back when you're down two against that team," said Nugent-Hopkins, who is now just two goals away from a new career high.
"For the most part I thought that was a pretty good game. They capitalized on little mistakes and little breakdowns… We had lots of offence but maybe we could have put the puck on net more to get those second and third opportunities."
The Oilers will now conclude their road trip on Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues before heading home to face the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.