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Golden Knights drop third straight with 5-3 loss to Oilers

Vegas suffered yet another injury; Zach Whitecloud left the game and did not return.

Edmonton Oilers v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Vegas Golden Knights came up short in a 5-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers Friday night at T-Mobile Arena. The Knights are now 1-3-0 to start the season; the Oilers are 5-0-0.

The hits keep on coming for Vegas. In more ways than one.

The Knights were without Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty as well as defenseman Alec Martinez, who is listed as day-to-day after leaving Wednesday’s game in the third period. Now Vegas can add Zach Whitecloud to the list, as he left the game in the second period after blocking a shot; he did not return.

After the game, Pete DeBoer did not provide a specific update on Whitecloud’s status. However, he did say, “He’s going for evaluation, but it wasn’t good.”

The Knights have now lost three straight games after securing a 4-3 win against Seattle in the season opener.

Tonight’s game was a choppy contest, and not just because the AT&T SportsNet feed cut out for most of the third period. Both teams went long stretches without recording a shot on goal, and it was a back-and-forth matchup with many lead changes.

But Vegas struck first in all three periods and was particularly dominant at the start of the game.

The Knights pounced on every early Oilers mistake and held them without a shot attempt for the first six minutes of the first.

Vegas was able to capitalize on the strong start, as Nic Roy scored his first of the season on an impressive deflection to give Vegas a 1-0 lead just 3:34 into the game.

Whitecloud took the shot from the point, and Roy managed to tip the puck while turning around as he skated towards the net.

It was Whitecloud’s first point of the season.

But for the fourth straight game, the Knights were unable to hold a lead. In fact, the Knights had two one-goal leads but surrendered both quickly; they also gave up a quick goal after tying the game early in the third.

Just over five minutes after the Knights took a 1-0 lead, a costly penalty by Reilly Smith gave the Oilers exactly what they wanted, and the league’s best power play needed just 22 seconds to even the score.

Connor McDavid drew Robin Lehner well out of the crease and got both Vegas defenders to bite while he carried the puck through the slot. Lehner wasn’t able to handle the puck, and it slid past his pad and ultimately trickled across the goal line with help from Zach Hyman in the crease.

Vegas had a golden (pun intended) opportunity at the end of the period but was unable to convert on an extended 5-on-3 power play (1:38).

The Knights closed out the period with a few good chances, and the Oilers didn’t record a shot in the final 6:14 of the frame.

Much like the first, the second period started with a bang for Vegas.

The Knights regained the lead just 1:25 into the frame on Nolan Patrick’s first goal as a Golden Knight.

It was another deflection goal. Dylan Coghlan fired the puck from the blue line, and Patrick got a stick on it from the circle.

But once again, the Oilers erased that lead quickly. This time, it took just 2:30.

Hyman got his second of the game off a feed from McDavid from below the goal line. Lehner didn’t have a chance on the screened one-timed blast.

Then, just 72 seconds later, Leon Draisaitl gave Edmonton its first lead of the game.

A bad bounce off a rebound left the puck sitting at Alex Pietrangelo’s feet, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins found Draisaitl all alone for the one-timer.

Midway through the frame, the Knights found themselves in the penalty box once again. However, a huge penalty kill kept the Oilers off the board. Edmonton was buzzing, recording seven shots on the unsuccessful opportunity, which included a 5-on-3 for 35 seconds. Lehner made several key stops to keep it a one-goal game.

The Knights had a strong finish to the second but were unable to beat Mikko Koskinen, who stopped 36 of 39 shots on the night.

However, Vegas was able to even things up just over two minutes into the third period as Nic Hague scored his first of the year. The Haguerbomb from the blue line came off a faceoff, with the assists going to Roy and Chandler Stephenson.

But a brutal turnover by Hague just 2:26 later led to a back-breaking goal for the Oilers, as Zack Kassian intercepted the puck and scored on a breakaway.

It proved to be the turning point in the game as the Oilers took a 4-3 lead and didn’t give it back.

For much of the third, Edmonton sat back and played it safe, clearing pucks and protecting the lead. It was a strong frame for the Knights, who led in shots (17-10) and held a 25-12 edge in Corsi at 5-on-5.

But Draisaitl scored an empty-net goal with 12 seconds left in the game to seal it for the Oilers.

Vegas is 0-2-0 so far on this homestand and trails Edmonton by eight points in the Pacific Division standings.

In the end, the Knights committed too many turnovers, particularly in the neutral zone.

Lehner wasn’t nearly as strong as he was the other night against St. Louis, though he did make some key stops, including on Edmonton’s 5-on-3 as well as a five-hole stop on McDavid in the third period to keep it 4-3.

Once again, Vegas lost the special teams battle. In fact, Vegas is 0-9 on the man advantage to start the season and is now the only team in the NHL that has yet to score a power-play goal this year.

The Knights finish up the homestand Sunday against the New York Islanders before hitting the road for a back-to-back against Colorado and Dallas. It looks like they will do so without the services of Whitecloud.