The one thing the Vegas Golden Knights could hang their hat on is there haven’t been many instances where they’ve looked like an expansion team.
Vegas, meet the Edmonton Oilers, perennial NHL buzzsaw.
The Oilers scored three goals in the first period — including a short-handed and power-play tally — and that fueled Edmonton to an 8-2 victory over the Golden Knights in the first meeting between the Pacific Division foes.
Golden Knights goaltender Maxime Lagace, who has started the last seven games as the last goalie standing by attrition, made 22 saves and allowed a career-high seven goals. He didn’t finish the game. Yes, Gerard Gallant pulled Lagace, which meant 19-year-old rookie Dylan Ferguson saw his first NHL action.
His end result: one save, one goal allowed.
Nevertheless, the night wasn’t about Ferguson or Lagace. It was about the Golden Knights playing their worst game as an NHL franchise against a slumping Edmonton team that was in dire need of a breakout performance. The Oilers, who came into Tuesday scoring eight goals combined in their last four games, scored three in the first period. It began with a short-handed goal from Oscar Klefborn at 6:28 in the first period that went about as well for the Golden Knights as you’d expect.
This is fine. Everything is fine! pic.twitter.com/YULz466uzg— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 15, 2017
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (17:42 on the power play) scored the first of two goals to give Edmonton a 2-0 lead, and Patrick Maroon (18:39) scored less than a minute later to make it 3-0 in favor of the Oilers. The Golden Knights failed to recover after that. Edmonton outshot Vegas 13-5 in that first frame
That not withstanding, however, Connor McDavid scored twice for his multi-goal game since his hat trick on Opening Night. His second goal was a beautiful one, a powerful wrist shot that was fired past Lagace to make it 6-1. Now, McDavid scored the goal prior to make it 5-1. Better yet, Deryk Engelland scored the goal prior to make it 5-1 Edmonton.
That was noted offensive savant Deryk Engelland going the wrong way. Edmonton provided three more daggers after the fact, but that was rather symbolic.
There was some minute good that came out of this Canadian thrashing to the Golden Knights. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored his third goal of the year at 14:41 in the second period. His career-high is seven, by the way, so the elite offensive playmaker known as Pebbles is slowly becoming an offensive juggernaut on the so-called fourth line. This is where we are at, at this point in the game.
Also, James Neal scored his 10th goal of the year. Who would’ve thought that at the beginning of the year? Neal tapped in this goal past Cam Talbot like he was playing the 18th hole at the Canadian Open, if there is such a thing.
This game isn't over yet!— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 15, 2017
(it's definitely over) pic.twitter.com/HupGq5SWHa
Alas, it was a dark November night in Edmonton for the Golden Knights. So dark that Lagace was looked at by the trainers in the third period, and the chandelier almost came crashing down on Vegas going with a fifth goalie. But while it was dark, the lightness of Dylan Ferguson’s appearance on the ice will never fade.
This is a really cool moment. Welcome to the NHL, kid. pic.twitter.com/p2rjlKFD2m— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) November 15, 2017
The Golden Knights head to Vancouver for a road game against the Canucks on Thursday. No goalie change, please.