Edmonton Oilers pushed to brink of elimination by Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights scored three times in a span of 1:29 on the way to a 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers Friday night.
“That segment in the second period hobbled us and we weren’t able to get it done,” Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft said after the game.
The Golden Knights lead the series 3-2 and will try to win it Sunday night at Rogers Place.
The teams traded goals 50 seconds apart before the game was four minutes old. Connor McDavid snapped a shot past Adin Hill on the power play, then Jack Eichel chopped in a rebound. The Oilers unsuccessfully challenged the play for goalie interference. On another power play halfway through the first, Zach Hyman had a puck go in off him in front to make it 2-1 Oilers.
The Golden Knights jumped in front with power play goals 29 seconds apart in the second. Mark Stone reached across the crease and tucked a shot in off the post, then Reilly Smith scored his first of the playoffs after a puck bounced to him in front of Stuart Skinner. Just one minute after that, Nicolas Hague’s point shot clanked in off the post to make it 4-2 Vegas. Skinner was replaced by Jack Campbell after allowing four goals on 22 shots.
“What Stuart did was give us a chance to win the game,” Woodcroft said. “There was a segment that we didn’t like in the second period. In order to slow the momentum, I decided to change the goalie at that moment.”
In the final minute of the second, Keegan Kolesar was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for boarding Oilers defenceman Mattias Ekholm. McDavid scored on the only goal on the ensuing power play at 2:40 of the third. After cutting in from the right side, he slammed his own rebound past Hill.
“I thought the effort was there, obviously,” McDavid said. “Put ourselves in position to win a game. Put ourselves in a position to come back in a game. It was a hard fought game. It was a night where I thought both teams played well and (we) just couldn’t find a way to tie it up.”
The Golden Knights were able to hold off the Oilers the rest of the way.
“We’ve talked about grabbing those momentum swings and we lost the game in 90 seconds,” McDavid said. “Game 5 is a big one in the series when it’s 2-2. Now you’ve got to win a game at home and go from there.”
Hill finished with 31 saves. Campbell stopped all nine shots he faced.
“We have a challenge before us,” Woodcroft said. “We’re going to go home and we’re going to play our best game at home and get back on a flight and come to Vegas to challenge in Game 7.”