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MORNING SKATE REPORT: Oilers at Golden Knights

The Oilers five-game road trip continues in Vegas against the Golden Knights

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

The Oilers five-game Western Conference road stint finds them in Vegas for a match against the Golden Knights.

You can watch the game on Sportsnet & CBC or listen on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED.

Read the Preview then check back following Saturday's avails for the morning skate report.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Pre-Game at VGK 11.23.19

INSIDE THE OILERS

News and notes from Friday's Oilers practice, including a feature on Oscar Klefbom's career year.

>> READ MORE IN THE INSIDE THE OILERS BLOG

PRE-GAME REPORT

LAS VEGAS, NV - The Oilers will roll the dice Saturday in Sin City, hoping for a bounce-back performance after being dealt a crushing 5-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.

Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett admitted he didn't dwell on his club's last outing, opting instead to focus on how the Oilers executed on Tuesday when they handled the San Jose Sharks with a 5-2 victory.

"If you look at the whole game, we took too many penalties, although some of them I thought were questionable," Tippett said of the 5-1 loss to LA.

"But you get behind in a game and you chase a game, I don't care who you are, you don't look like a good team. We'll put that one behind us and move on to today."

The players felt they came out slow on Thursday and are stressing the need for a strong start at T-Mobile Arena. The Kings scored on the first shot of the game and made it a 3-0 deficit for the Oilers by the time the horn sounded on the opening frame.

 "It's really hard to crawl back from those," said defender Ethan Bear. 

"It's a long season. You're going to have games like that. We just got to use it as fuel and motivation for this one."

VIVA LAS VEGAS

Vegas is, of course, a hub of entertainment and since entering the League in the 2017-18 season, the Golden Knights have been a big-ticket event. 

Vegas plays a high-paced and heavy style, and routinely have the seventh man on their side when they play in front of their home crowd.

The club reached the Stanley Cup Final in their first year in the National Hockey League, ultimately losing to Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. 

James Neal was part of the Vegas' memorable run and described what it's like playing as a Golden Knight.

"The whole experience was unbelievable," Neal said. "It was one of those years that was unforgettable and you'll remember for the rest of your life."

The Oilers winger mentioned how daunting T-Mobile Arena can be for the visiting team. Vegas is 6-4-3 at home this year.

"I know the feeling for opposing teams coming in here," Neal continued. 

"Everything is going so fast. I was on Vegas and everything was moving pretty fast. I can see how hard it is for opposing teams coming into this rink. We used that, in our first year, to our advantage and obviously they're still doing that."

For Bear, it's an exciting game to get up for. The rookie defender has yet to lace up for a match in Vegas.

"It'll be electrifying out there," he said.

"It's Vegas, right?"

LINEUP NOTES

Oilers Head Coach Tippett said Jujhar Khaira will be a game-time decision. The forward blocked a shot against the Kings.

The coach also confirmed goaltender Mike Smith will get the nod in net. He was pulled after the first period against LA, allowing three goals against on 12 shots.

The Oilers held an optional skate on Saturday. Lines will be made apparent at warmups.

-- Paul Gazzola, EdmontonOilers.com

PREVIEW

OILERS (14-7-3) at GOLDEN KNIGHTS (11-9-4)

TV: 8:00 p.m. MT; Televised on Sportsnet & CBC

Head-to-Head:

Tonight's game is the first of four meetings between the Oilers and Golden Knights this season.

Last year, The Oilers were 1-3-0 in four dates with the Golden Knights. 

Connor McDavid had two goals and three assists in four games against Vegas last year while Leon Draisaitl potted three goals and two assists.

Oilers team scope:

The Oilers are coming off a 5-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, in a game that saw McDavid extend his point streak to nine games with a goal.

McDavid and Draisaitl lead the NHL in points with 16 goals, 28 assists and 44 points in 24 contests.

The Oilers sit first in the Pacific Division with a 14-7-3 record and 31 points.

Goladen Knights team scope:

The Golden Knights are coming off a 2-1 OT loss to the Sharks on Thursday. 

The Golden Knights are 11-9-4 this campaign with a plus-four goal-differential and 6-4-3 home record.

William Karlsson leads the Golden Knights in points with eight goals and 15 assists for 23 points in 24 matches.

By the Numbers:

McDavid leads the NHL in power-play points with 19. ... The Oilers own the best power play in the NHL with a 31.4 percentage. ... Edmonton is second in the NHL in penalty killing with an 87.6 percent conversion rate. ... McDavid and Draisaitl are tied for the League-lead in assists alongside John Carlson with 28. ... Vegas is 3-4-3 in their last 10.

Injury Report:

OILERS - Matt Benning (concussion) is on IR.

-- Paul Gazzola, EdmontonOilers.com

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