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Gameday: Struggling Golden Knights host lottery-bound Oilers

Connor McDavid comes to Las Vegas in a battle between two struggling teams.

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Vegas Golden Knights
Vegas Golden Knights celebrate a goal from Alex Tuch against the Edmonton Oilers
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Vegas Golden Knights are now on a five-game losing streak. With three games left in the regular season, that streak is a bit alarming, especially seeing as Vegas just snapped San Jose’s own seven-game losing streak.

The good news: Vegas is locked in the playoffs. They will meet the aforementioned Sharks in the first round next week.

For now, Vegas needs to get back in the win column. Luckily, the Edmonton Oilers are coming to town. While they boast two 100 point scorers — Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid — they don’t bring with them much else. The Golden Knights have a 2-1 record against Edmonton this season. Now would be an ideal time to end the losing streak and get back into form before the playoffs.

Here’s what to watch for.

Two 100

McDavid and Draisaitl are the first duo since 2009-10 to get 100 points together as a duo. The last two to do it were Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin. That’ll be a problem the Golden Knights will have to solve if they want to take this victory.

Especially when, even as McDavid is being heralded as the best player in the game, Draisaitl is the one in the Rocket Richard hunt. Draisaitl is currently second in the NHL with 47, four behind Ovechkin.

“His game is really impressive right now,” Oilers coach Ken Hitchock told reporters Saturday. “When you give a twosome (McDavid and Draisaitl) like that an odd-man rush, you know they’re going to get a quality scoring chance. The thing that Leon does better than anybody is he puts himself in a shooting position off the rush, so he gets the shot off fast, and that’s hard to recover to as a goalie.”

Odd-man rushes are something the Golden Knights’ defense will need to avoid allowing. Both members of the Oilers’ elite duo have four points in three games against Vegas. Stop them, and Vegas has better odds of winning.

Top six

The Golden Knights’ top six has significantly slowed down during this losing streak. Not only have Paul Stastny and Max Pacioretty missed games, but only Stastny has seen an increase in points-per-game pace over the past five games.

Reilly Smith went from 15 points in the great 11 game stretch to just three in the past five. Jonathan Marchessault hasn’t scored a goal, and William Karlsson has gone from over a point per game to under.

At the same time, Mark Stone is also goal-less and Pacioretty has just one assist.

If the Golden Knights want to get back to winning, it starts with the guys at the top.

Special teams

Both of the Golden Knights’ special teams units have also slowed down during the losing streak. The power play has gone from six goals in 11 games during the good stretch to just one in five during the losing streak.

The penalty kill has also allowed five goals during this bad stretch, as opposed to just six during the 11-game streak. Both special teams getting worse probably has something to do with the reversal in fortunes, and getting the penalty kill and power play back on track would help with getting the whole team in order.

How to watch

7 p.m. PT

TV: AT&T SportsNet

Radio: Fox Sports 98.9 FM