Golden Knights secure impressive 5-1 win against Oilers despite losing Brossoit
The Vegas Golden Knights delivered a complete effort on the road to take a 2-1 series lead against the Edmonton Oilers Monday night at Rogers Place.
The Golden Knights cruised to a 5-1 victory thanks to five unanswered goals and a stellar performance by Adin Hill, who stopped 25 of 25 shots in relief of the injured Laurent Brossoit.
Jonathan Marchessault ended his drought with a two-goal night, Jack Eichel recorded three points and four Vegas blueliners found the scoresheet in the win. The Golden Knights chased Stuart Skinner in the second period and held Edmonton to just one full-length power play, which they killed off.
The Golden Knights now lead the best-of-seven series 2-1. They are 10-3 all-time in Game 3 matchups and are 3-0 on the road this postseason.
For the third time this series, the Oilers opened the scoring early in the first period.
Warren Foegele scored his first of the postseason as he redirected a centering feed from Derek Ryan on the Oilers' first shot of the frame.
But for the third time in this series, the Golden Knights responded less than two minutes later.
It wasn't Ivan Barbashev with the answer, though he was on the ice. Instead, it was Marchessault, who scored his first of the playoffs after going scoreless through the first seven games. Marchessault scored on a wraparound to even things up at 1-1 less than five minutes into the contest.
The Oilers had several dangerous scoring chances on the rush, but Brossoit came up with some key saves and got some help from the post on a Leon Draisaitl bid.
However, after making a huge pad save on a Connor McDavid shot, Brossoit tried to stretch across the crease for the rebound but fell to the ice. He was down for a while and ultimately had to be helped off the ice and down the tunnel. The team later ruled him out for the rest of the game with a lower-body injury.
Hill, fresh off his four-save third-period appearance in Game 2, entered the game cold but looked sharp, shutting down all four Oilers shots he faced. Before the end of the frame, his teammates got him a lead, which he did not surrender.
Marchessault netted his second of the frame after going hard to the net and putting home Eichel's pass. After going 23 periods without a goal, Marchessault finished the opening frame with two, giving the Golden Knights a 2-1 lead after one.
It was a great road period by the Golden Knights, who managed 12 high-danger chances and had a 70.86 percent expected goal share, according to Natural Stat Trick.
There was some carry-over drama from Game 2, as Evander Kane cross-checked Alex Pietrangelo in the face at the end of the period; it didn't draw the Golden Knights into taking any penalties, however, but resulted in a Vegas power play to start the second.
The Golden Knights were unable to convert on the man-advantage but ended up outscoring Edmonton 3-0 in the middle frame.
First, an excellent shift by the Golden Knights set up a streaking Zach Whitecloud, who scored on an absolute laser, beating Skinner short-side to give Vegas a multi-goal lead at 7:25.
It was the first goal by a Vegas defenseman in the playoffs, and it was Whitecloud's third point of the series after recording two helpers in Game 1.
Then, it was Eichel's turn to beat Skinner cleanly.
Eichel picked up his third point of the game after skating around the falling Evan Bouchard and then sniping one past Skinner to make it 4-1.
The goal chased Skinner from the net, paving the way for Jack Campbell to make his first appearance of the series.
Nicolas Roy then put home a rebound on the backhand, but the goal did not stand after Edmonton challenged for goaltender interference. However, it took just 17 seconds for the Golden Knights to strike again, and this one counted.
It was Roy, once again, who made a key play to help Vegas add to its lead. He didn't get credit for the goal, but his nifty bounce pass set up Chandler Stephenson for a deflection goal to restore Vegas' four-goal lead.
Hill had a very strong period, shutting down all 10 Oilers shots he faced.
The Golden Knights continued to execute at a high level in the third period, preventing Edmonton from generating much despite needing four goals. Vegas had strong sticks in the defensive zone, helped Hill clear pucks from the crease, boxed out to keep the Oilers to the perimeter, maintained a stable defensive structure and dominated territorially.
It was exactly the third period the Golden Knights needed, especially against such an offensive powerhouse. They didn't sit back, but they didn't take too many chances and played a sound structural game.
The Oilers got a full two-minute power play in the final five minutes of action, but Hill scrambled on multiple sequences to keep the puck out of the net. The Golden Knights had a few failed clears, but the Golden Knights' penalty kill came through. The game may have been decided, but it was a big confidence booster for the Golden Knights, who had been overrun by Edmonton's top unit in Games 1 and 2.
The Oilers outshot Vegas 12-7 but were held off the scoresheet for the second period in a row.
The Golden Knights played a fantastic road game.
Vegas trailed for just 1:59 and held a lead for 40:51.
The Golden Knights held McDavid and Draisaitl to zero points.
Despite giving up a goal early in the first, the Golden Knights – backstopped by Brossoit and Hill – shut out the Oilers for the final 57:15.
A huge reason was discipline.
For the first time, Edmonton didn't have a power play in the first period, and Vegas kept the Oilers without a full two-minute power play through the first 55 minutes of action. When Edmonton finally did get a two-minute man-advantage, Hill and the Golden Knights shut it down, emphatically closing out the win.
The Golden Knights came through offensively as well. They drove to the net, put pressure on Skinner and were effective in the offensive zone thanks to a diligent forecheck and strong puck pursuit. Vegas was the hungrier team, won battles and reaped the benefits.
Coming into the game, it was critical for Marchessault to get going; he did just that. His two goals in the first period were vital, as they not only erased Edmonton's early lead but stole back some momentum and then gave Vegas a lead it would not surrender. His goal in the final minute of the first period proved to be the game-winner.
Eichel, who assisted on both of Marchessault's first-period tallies and later potted one of his own, was excellent at both ends and recorded his second three-point game of the postseason. He now has 10 points in eight career postseason games.
Also, the defensemen were more involved and had one of their best games of the postseason. They helped both Brossoit and Hill, limiting Edmonton's time in the offensive zone. Whitecloud, Nicolas Hague, Brayden McNabb and Alec Martinez all found the scoresheet in a critical second period that won the game for Vegas.
But Hill's performance cannot be understated. He was rock-solid, shutting down Edmonton's top stars, fighting through screens and taking care of rebounds. He made straightforward saves, difficult saves, gobbled up pucks without giving up rebounds, scrambled, did a snow angel in the paint and never looked desperate.
He looked to be in mid-season form, and he played with confidence and some swagger, which is important against such a dynamic offense.
If there is one, the silver lining from Game 2's blowout loss was that Hill had a chance to see some shots in the third period, which helped him come in off the bench in Game 3.
But at the end of the day, the Golden Knights kept the Oilers' power play off the ice, which was the most critical factor contributing to the win. That helped keep Edmonton off the board and out of the game. The referees put away the whistles a bit, but Vegas didn't lose its composure and managed to stay out of the box until the game was already over.
Momentum has been key in this series, and the Golden Knights maintained it throughout Game 3 in the team's most complete effort of the postseason.
The Golden Knights take a 2-1 series lead into Game 4, which is set for Wednesday night. Both teams have bounced back after suffering losses in this series, so there's no reason to expect Edmonton will bring anything but its best.