Golden Knights fail to clinch playoff berth in 7-4 loss to Oilers, lose Theodore to injury

Quick gave up six goals on 34 shots; the Oilers went 3-for-3 on the power play.

The Vegas Golden Knights saw their four-game winning streak come to an end in an embarrassing 7-4 loss to the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena.

The regulation loss prevented the Golden Knights from clinching a playoff berth.

Adding insult to injury, the Golden Knights may have suffered a massive setback, as Shea Theodore was not on the bench to start the third period and did not return. Bruce Cassidy did not have an update on his status following the game.

It was an ugly loss all-around, which got away from Vegas in the second period when Edmonton scored three consecutive goals to break the game open. The Oilers added a fourth early in the third period to put it out of reach.

Jonathan Quick gave up six goals on 34 shots and was replaced by Laurent Brossoit to start the third, though Cassidy stressed after the game that the decision was not an indictment of Quick’s performance.

The team, as a whole, did not defend well enough.

Four days after holding Edmonton’s top four scorers to four total points, Vegas allowed Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman to combine for 11 points; Nugent-Hopkins led the way with five (1-4—5), while McDavid tallied three assists.

One critical factor in the game was special teams, as Edmonton went 3-for-3 on the power play while the Golden Knights went 0-for-3. The Golden Knights got a goal from the power kill, as William Karlsson scored shorthanded in the first period, but the penalty kill failed to slow down the top-rated man-advantage in the league.

Jonathan Marchessault kicked things off just 72 seconds into the opening period off a turnover in Edmonton’s end.

It was Marchessault’s third straight game with a goal.

Less than a minute after Marchessault’s tally, Quick had a little scare after turning the puck over to Draisaitl. However, he made a desperation stick save to rob Draisaitl, who had a wide-open net. Even so, Vegas took a tripping penalty on the play, which resulted in Edmonton’s first power play and first goal of the night.

It came just 37 seconds after Marchessault opened the scoring; Quick was screened and never saw the point shot by Evan Bouchard, which made it a 1-1 game less than two minutes into the contest.

Nugent-Hopkins capitalized on a Vegas turnover and beat Quick cleanly to make it a 2-1 game at 8:20 of the first.

Just over a minute later, the Golden Knights evened things up once again as Karlsson out-muscled Bouchard, forcing a turnover along the boards that led to a breakaway.

It didn’t stop the Oilers from scoring on the power play, however. In fact, it took just 24 seconds for Edmonton to find twine as Draisaitl netted his 47th goal of the season off a crisp centering feed from McDavid.

Yet another goal was scored off a turnover when Michael Amadio potted his 13th of the year 3:13 into the middle frame. Phil Kessel was down but kept his stick on the ice, which broke up a pass behind the net to set up the play; the assist extended Kessel’s point streak to five games (2-4—6).

From there, it was all Oilers.

First, Darnell Nurse scored from a sharp angle on a shot that Quick should have stopped.

The next goal was a different story.

Draisaitl put on a show seven minutes later, completing a give-and-go, deking around multiple Vegas defenders and then sending a backhand feed over to Evander Kane to make it 5-3.

The Oilers capped things off with another power-play goal, as McDavid delayed at the side of the net before finding Hyman for the backdoor tap-in. The goal came just 2:04 after Kane’s and made it 6-3 at 15:34 of the second.

Brossoit replaced Quick at the start of the third period.

The first shot he faced was on a breakaway by Brett Kulak, who was fresh out of the penalty box. That made it a 7-3 game just 4:24 into the third period and tied Vegas’ season high for goals allowed in a single game.

Marchessault scored his second of the night to make it 7-4 with 1:32 remaining, but the game was long over.

For the first time this month, Vegas scored first but did not win (11-1-0).

It was a disappointing follow-up to the Golden Knights’ impressive 3-0-0 road trip through Western Canada, which included a 4-3 overtime win against the Oilers over the weekend.

The game marked the second time in less than two weeks that the Golden Knights surrendered seven goals in their first home game coming off at least three consecutive wins on the road. Vegas also gave up seven goals in a 7-2 loss to Calgary on March 16 following the club’s 4-1-0 road trip, which concluded with wins against Tampa Bay, Carolina, St. Louis and Philadelphia.

Quick was in net for both games. However, Cassidy did not put this loss on Quick.

“He was fine. I didn’t like the [sharp-angle] goal; he’d tell you the same thing. ... We just allowed their high-end players to make plays in front of him. ... This was more about, ‘It’s not your night and we’re not playing well in front of you, let’s put [Brossoit] in there. ... He needs the reps.”

Instead, Cassidy attributed the loss to several factors, including trying to beat Edmonton at its own game.

“We were trying to make plays that weren’t there. ... I don’t know if we thought we could outscore them. That’s not how you’re gonna beat them; they’re the best offensive team in the league. ... You can’t get into that type of game and expect to beat them. ... You gotta check better and be responsible with the puck, and we weren’t able to do those things.”

The Golden Knights had just 12 shots through 40 minutes (Edmonton had 34). Across the board, it was a far cry from Saturday’s 4-3 overtime win against the same Oilers club.

“The takeaway is if we play like we did tonight, we’re out if we play them [in the playoffs]; we’ll be out in a hurry,” Cassidy said. “If we play closer to Saturday, I think we’re fine. That’s more our style of play. I know [Saturday’s] game went into overtime, but we did have the lead in the third period, and I think we’d be OK in that type of game. I like our chances.”

Despite coming away empty-handed in the points department, the Golden Knights were able to maintain their two-point lead in the Pacific Division since Los Angeles also lost in regulation.

However, the four-point game for the Oilers puts them just one point behind the second-place Kings and three points behind the Golden Knights. Even though Los Angeles and Vegas have a game in hand, Edmonton is very much in the race for the Pacific title.

The Golden Knights will try again to clinch their fifth trip to the postseason when they hit the ice Thursday night in San Jose. It is Vegas’ only remaining game against a  team not in or competing for a playoff spot.