Preview: Golden Knights face important test against Oilers

The Golden Knights are 7-7-1 all-time against Edmonton.

The Vegas Golden Knights (14-4-0) will look to improve on their stellar 8-1-0 road record when they take on the Edmonton Oilers (9-8-0) tonight at Rogers Place.

This will be the first meeting between these clubs in 2022-23; Vegas holds a 7-7-1 all-time record against the Oilers, including a 1-3-0 mark last season.

Edmonton has gone 3-5-0 in November and sits in fourth place in the Pacific Division with 18 points. The Oilers fell 3-1 to Los Angeles in their most recent game, which snapped the 10- and 11-game point streaks of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, respectively. The two lead the NHL in scoring with 32 and 28 points. McDavid has a league-high 15 goals through 17 games and is maintaining a ridiculous shooting percentage of 23.1 percent.

The Golden Knights held McDavid to just two assists in four games last year and held McDavid and Draisaitl to a combined five points in four games despite dropping three of four.

The Golden Knights snapped a two-game losing streak with a 4-1 win against Arizona on Thursday night. Vegas’ 1-2-0 homestand followed a perfect 5-0-0 road trip; Vegas is hopeful that road success will carry over in Edmonton and Vancouver.

Vegas will be without Nicolas Roy, who suffered what Bruce Cassidy deemed a “lower-body aggravation” late in Thursday’s game against the Coyotes. Michael Amadio will take his spot on the fourth line.

For Edmonton, both Evander Kane and Kailer Yamamoto are out; Kane sustained a frightening injury after taking a skate to his wrist but is expected to make a full recovery.

Taking his spot on the top line will be none other than Mattias Janmark.

Janmark, who recorded 10 goals and 30 points in 82 games for the Golden Knights, will skate with McDavid and Zach Hyman, putting him in an excellent spot as he squares off against his former team for the first time.

Janmark signed with Edmonton in the offseason but was waived and started the season in Bakersfield with Edmonton’s AHL affiliate. He has one assist in three games since being recalled.

Not surprisingly, Edmonton is one of the best teams on the power play, currently sitting second overall with a 31.7 percent conversion rate. However, the Oilers are 29th on the penalty kill (71.8 percent).

Vegas has a 22.2 percent efficacy rate on the man-advantage and has killed off 77.3 percent of opposing teams’ power plays. After giving up two power-play goals against Buffalo, Vegas has gone 9-for-10 on the penalty kill.

The Oilers have struggled at home this year, going 4-6-0 in 10 contests. Vegas, on the other hand, has been nearly perfect on the road, losing just one of nine games so far in Year 6.

Another factor that could play a role in tonight’s matchup is how both teams have performed early in games. The Golden Knights have scored seven goals in the first five minutes of a game, while the Oilers have given up eight in the first five minutes and 12 in the first 10.

Edmonton has scored first in seven out of 17 games, while the Golden Knights have opened the scoring in 13 out of 18 contests this season. Only two of the five games in which the Golden Knights gave up the first goal were losses.

Stuart Skinner will make his third straight start for the Oilers. Edmonton went out and signed Jack Campbell to a five-year, $25 million contract over the summer, but he has not panned out thus far. Campbell is 6-4-0 with a ghastly 4.27 goals-against average and .873 save percentage, while Skinner is 3-4-0 with a 2.47 goals-against average and .932 save percentage. However, Skinner has dropped three of his last four starts.

The Golden Knights are undefeated (12-0-0) when scoring at least three goals, scoring just two in all four losses. Getting to Skinner, especially early, will go a long way towards taking the first of four matchups between these clubs this season.

Cassidy has not started Logan Thompson in three consecutive games this year but could go back to the young netminder after his strong showing against Arizona.

Notably, this will be the 10th meeting between McDavid and Jack Eichel, who were selected first and second overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Both lead their respective clubs in goals and points this season.

In the nine previous regular-season meetings, Eichel has scored five goals and 10 points while securing five wins; McDavid has three goals and eight points to go along with four wins.

This will be the first time the two players face each other while playing for legitimate playoff contenders.

Projected lineups

Golden Knights
Chandler Stephenson — Jack Eichel — Mark Stone
Jonathan Marchessault — William Karlsson — Reilly Smith
Paul Cotter — Brett Howden — Phil Kessel
William Carrier — Michael Amadio — Keegan Kolesar

Alec Martinez — Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb — Shea Theodore
Nicolas Hague — Zach Whitecloud

Logan Thompson
Adin Hill

Mattias Janmark — Connor McDavid — Zach Hyman
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — Leon Draisaitl — Warren Foegele
Klim Kostin — Ryan McLeod — Jesse Puljujarvi
Dylan Holloway — Devin Shore — Derek Ryan

Darnell Nurse — Cody Ceci
Brett Kulak — Evan Bouchard
Ryan Murray — Tyson Barrie

Stuart Skinner
Jack Campbell