After scoring a combined 10 goals in the last two games, the Vegas Golden Knights came up empty in a 4-0 shutout loss to the Edmonton Oilers Saturday afternoon at Rogers Place.
Despite trailing 1-0 entering the third period, Vegas was unable to generate much offensively, ultimately getting shut out for the seventh time this season. Two Oilers goals in the first 5:16 of the third period proved to be the difference, and Vegas was unable to capitalize on several power plays later in the frame.
The Golden Knights held Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl without a point but still came up short, finishing the season series with a 1-3-0 record and coming out of the three-game road trip with just three of a possible six points.
The Oilers opened the scoring with what proved to be the game-winning goal 16:26 into the first period.
It was an unfortunate turnover for Vegas, as the puck hit Shea Theodore’s skate and got away from him. But Edmonton’s patience in the offensive zone paid off, as Zack Kassian eventually found a wide-open Kris Russell for his first goal of the season.
HOW ABOUT KRIS RUSSELL OPENING THE SCORING? #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/m1RuUyNIWc— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) April 16, 2022
Both netminders were perfect in the second period, keeping it a one-goal game headed into the final frame.
Despite Edmonton’s offensive firepower, it was another defensive defenseman who found the scoresheet next, as Cody Ceci’s shot from the point found its way through traffic just 35 seconds into the third.
D-men with our first two goals tonight & you do love to see it. #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/KQd4q9nfOc— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) April 16, 2022
Edmonton scored the back-breaker to make it 3-0 just under five minutes later, as Warren Foegele intercepted an Alec Martinez backhand pass at the Vegas blue line and scored on the ensuing breakaway.
Make it a cool dozen Foegoals on the season. #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/i4zwEmnw4B— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) April 16, 2022
Edmonton later added a short-handed tally to make it 4-0. It was originally credited to Evander Kane but has since been awarded to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Either way, it was the icing on the cake in a disappointing effort by a Vegas club coming off a dominant offensive performance against Calgary.
To their credit, the Oilers played an impressive defensive game, perhaps their best against Vegas in five seasons.
However, though Mike Smith recorded a 39-save shutout, he wasn’t overly tested and faced just four high-danger chances in the first two periods.
The loss snapped Logan Thompson’s five-game winning streak; he gave up just one goal on 26 shots in the first 40 minutes to give the Golden Knights a chance to win, but Vegas was unable to respond after falling into a multi-goal hole.
Edmonton limited the Golden Knights’ chances in transition and kept them out of the slot when Vegas did manage to have extended shifts in the offensive zone.
In the end, however, the predictable and ineffective Vegas power play is what cost the Golden Knights dearly.
Vegas had two opportunities on the man-advantage in the third period after falling behind 3-0 but was unable to capitalize on either. Aside from a fantastic stretch in December, Vegas’ power play woes continue to be an issue going back to last season.
In arguably the most important game of the year, the Golden Knights not only failed to come away with two points but also failed to score a single goal. It’s unclear whether this loss will be season-altering, but the offense went cold at a critical time.
Either way, it was a wasted opportunity considering Vegas had a game in hand over Los Angeles.
With six games remaining in the regular season, the Golden Knights are no longer in control of their own destiny and will need help from other teams in order to make the playoffs.
The Golden Knights return to Vegas for the final three home games of the season, facing New Jersey, Washington and San Jose starting on Monday.