EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers have sent a reminder as to how difficult they can be to face in overtime.
Connor McDavid scored the winner 1:17 into overtime as the Oilers broke out of their slump with a 4-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday. Edmonton was the lone team in the NHL to not go to overtime yet this season before the win.
McDavid danced around a defender and chipped a shot over Knights starter Adin Hill for his 16th of the season. It was a pretty finish to cap off what McDavid otherwise thought was a frightful performance on his part for the night.
“It was ugly right from the start for me,” he said. “I fought the puck all night, changed sticks a couple times. Dropped my stick, lost a mouth guard a bunch of times … It was ugly, but obviously (it was about) sticking with it and I found a way to contribute to the game.
“You know, make it count when you get your chance.”
Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft said McDavid is like a shark when an opportunity arises.
“I think anybody can see blood. He's one of the special ones that can smell it,” he said.
“(He) obviously made some plays there that helped us win the game and came through when it mattered most. … That was, you know, a very determined and serious player who wanted to go out and find the two points for our team and make plays down the stretch.”
Warren Foegele, Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman also scored for the Oilers (10-8-0) who had lost five of their last seven overall and three straight at home.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins recorded three assists and McDavid notched another helper. Stuart Skinner stopped 31-of-34 shots.
Mark Stone, with two goals, and Keegan Kolesar responded for the Golden Knights (14-4-1) who have now lost three of their last four outings. Hill made 19 saves in the loss.
“We did a good job to fight our way back into the game, but unfortunately they made a play in overtime and got the win,” said Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy. “We want two points. We are a good overtime team.
"We started with the puck and had our opportunity to generate something, and they checked it back, so good for them. There were some good things to get a point. If we started a little better, a little cleaner, then maybe we get the two. But, at the end of the day, we will take the one.”
Edmonton got the important first goal of the game 1:56 into the opening frame as Hill was able to make a stop on a Nugent-Hopkins shot before Foegele chipped in a backhand on the doorstep for his third goal in the last five games.
Vegas pulled even with less than four minutes remaining in the first as Shea Theodore floated a shot on net that went off the back of Kolesar's head and past a bewildered Skinner.
The Golden Knights surged ahead 4:09 into the second period when Stone was awarded a penalty shot after being checked on a break by Ryan Murray. Stone made no mistake on the opportunity, beating Skinner through the legs for his sixth of the season.
Midway through the second period, Darnell Nurse sent it across to Draisaitl who waited for Hill and a defender to dive across in desperation before calmly depositing his 10th of the season into the net to tie the game.
Vegas came close to regaining the lead with 30 seconds left in the second on a short-handed two-on-one opportunity, but Skinner was able to make the stop on William Karlsson.
Edmonton moved in front on the power play just 38 seconds into the third period. Tyson Barrie kept the puck in Golden Knights territory, giving McDavid the chance to send the puck to Hyman for his ninth of the campaign.
With 8:27 left in the third, Draisaitl coughed it up in his own zone, leading to Stone using a screen to perfectly pick the top corner for his second of the game to knot the game at 3-3 to eventually send the game to overtime.
The first goal of the game has been key for both teams to this point. In their first 10 games at home this season, the Oilers had fallen behind 1-0 within the first six shots against seven times. Conversely, Edmonton was 6-1 when getting the first goal. The Knights came into the game having scored the first goal in 13 of their 18 games, with an 11-2 record when they did … The Golden Knights have an NHL-high nine players with 10 or more points … The Oilers were without a pair or key forwards in Kailer Yamamoto (undisclosed) and Evander Kane (wrist surgery) … Vegas was missing the services of Nicolas Roy with what coach Cassidy said was a “lower-body aggravation.”
Both teams return to action on Monday. The Oilers begin a three-game road trip in New Jersey against the Devils. The Golden Knights close out a short two-game trip in Vancouver against the Canucks.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 19, 2022.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press