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GAME STORY: Oilers 8, Golden Knights 2

Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins score two goals each; five other Oilers record multi-point games

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - The Oilers weren't exactly playing with house money when the Vegas Golden Knights rolled into Rogers Place for their first time.

But they certainly won the jackpot.

Edmonton cashed out with eight goals Tuesday against Vegas, beating the expansion club 8-2 and improving to 7-9-2 on the season.

Video: OILERS TODAY | vs. Golden Knights Post-Game

 

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Connor McDavid led the way with two goals and one assist, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a pair of tallies and five other Oilers had multi-point nights.

Edmonton scored their first shorthanded goal of the season and finished the night 3-for-3 on the power play. 

In goal, Cam Talbot made 22 saves on 24 shots.

"Eight-goal nights don't happen very often, it'll be a while before we get another one of those," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan.

"Can it be a stepping stone for us? I hope so."

The Oilers scored their first shorty of the season while killing a Yohann Auvitu tripping minor. 

Mark Letestu chipped the puck up to Jujhar Khaira in the Oilers zone, springing the forward on a 2-on-1 with Oscar Klefbom. Khaira, who notched a goal in Sunday's game against the Washington Capitals, threaded a backhand pass for Klefbom on the doorstep. He slammed it home to get the Oilers on the board at 6:28. 

The goal was Klefbom's second of the season and Khaira's second point in as many games.

The Golden Knights, with their tireless motor and dogged work ethic, have proved many wrong this season and answered with a flurry of their own. Jesse Puljujarvi made a good defensive play on one of their best opportunities in the first as Cody Eakin was in front of the net. Puljujarvi poked the puck just enough to keep it out of Eakin's reach.

Already with a shorthanded marker in the period, the Oilers got the power play rolling on their first opportunity.

Nugent-Hopkins picked up his seventh goal of the campaign after receiving a perfect pass through the crease from Patrick Maroon at 17:48. Nugent-Hopkins had not scored his seventh of the season last year until December 29.

"Personally, it's starting to roll a little bit and team-wise, the same thing," said the centre.

Clearly hyped up from their productive push, Edmonton did not relent.

Video: McDavid, Oilers rout Golden Knights in 8-2 win

Maroon made it 3-0 with a sizzling one-timer, recording a goal and assist in a span of 57 seconds. Leon Draisaitl was set up in the offensive zone corner, waiting for the right time for Big Rig to get into the slot. He sauced a pass to the winger, who wasted no time in getting it up and over Maxime Lagace's blocker for his fifth of the season.

Puljujarvi continued showing his competence at both sides of the ice in the second period. The young Finn blocked a shot in the Oilers zone, broke his stick, then had the wherewithal to carry the play up ice as the Edmonton bench fed him a fresh stick. He finished the night with three hits, one shot on goal and one block in 11:55 of ice time.

Rogers Place approved when Puljujarvi got to the bench, giving him a rousing applause following the shift.

Matt Benning made it 4-0 Oilers at 10:19 of the second, redirecting a Klefbom point shot past Lagace. It was his second goal and third point of the season, while Klefbom recorded his second point of the night. McDavid had the secondary apple. 

Although the Oilers were up 4-0, the Golden Knights continued skating, eventually getting a goal of their own.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare broke the goose egg at 14:41 of the second, scoring his third goal of the season. He sniped a wrist shot from the slot that beat Talbot glove side to make it 4-1.

The Oilers entered the final frame with a chance to add to their lead on the man-advantage due to a late James Neal roughing minor in the second.

And the club kept the power play perfect.

Draisaitl fed a goal-line pass through the crease to McDavid, who whacked at it while Lagace was down. The netminder's right pad somehow managed to keep it out but the puck bobbled in the crease until Deryk Engelland accidentally popped it into his own net, awarding McDavid his eighth goal of the season. 

Neal replied immediately for Vegas, getting an easy tap-in from a blueline pass to him on the doorstep. The forward scored his team-leading 10th goal.

Video: THE OTHER SIDE | Knights Post-Game

Not long after Neal's tally, McDavid scored his second of the period. He walked in from the right circle and ripped the twine behind Lagace, registering his ninth goal and 22nd point of the season on the play.

Nugent-Hopkins scored his second of the game with just over 10 minutes left to play. He approached Lagace on a 2-on-1 with Puljujarvi, electing to keep, shoot and score with a far side rip.

"We put everything together tonight and things went well for us," said Nugent-Hopkins. "We can't get away from that now."

McLellan couldn't help but praise Nugent-Hopkins' outing following the game.

"I really, really believed in this guy at the World Cup (of Hockey 2016)," the Oilers coach said. "He was excellent. I thought he was going to have a really big year and it didn't quite go for him the way he wanted to. But this year, things are happening for him. He's consistently doing it right at both ends of the rink and getting awarded with offence. 

"I'm proud of him." 

Lagace left the game late in the third period, opening the door for 19-year-old Kamloops Blazers netminder Dylan Ferguson, who was beat by Letestu on the final Oilers goal.

Letestu was set up in his office on the left side while on the power play, unloading on a beautiful behind the back pass from Zack Kassian.

"Connor said that he was a '99," said Oilers winger Maroon. "I would have been shaking. Hats off to him, that takes a lot of courage to get in there."

The Oilers host the St. Louis Blues on Thursday. Puck drop is at 7:08 p.m. MST.

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