Oilers Gameday Preview: Vegas Golden Knights – 3/28/23

The Edmonton Oilers are looking to get a win against their division rival Vegas Golden Knights tonight as they travel to Las Vegas looking for win number 43. The Oilers are coming off a 5-4 win over the Arizona Coyotes, which was a big two points they needed as they look to secure home-ice advantage for Round 1 of the playoffs. A much tougher opponent in the Golden Knights will require a much cleaner game which wasn’t seen in last night’s victory.

Connor McDavid reached 140 points on the season while Leon Draisaitl hit 300 career goals, but it didn’t come without a number of mistakes that led to a much closer game than most fans expected. The difference in skill between the Oilers and Coyotes is massive, so a sloppy game in the defensive zone will have to be something they clean up as they face the best in the Western Conference.

The Golden Knights haven’t played since their March 25 matchup against the Oilers, so they are well rested, while the Oilers will finish a back-to-back evening game stretch. In a potential playoff matchup, this could be one of the best games of the season as tensions flared last game, and it’ll likely carry over to this one.

Notes/Keys To The Game

The Oilers dropped the last game to the Golden Knights 4-3 in overtime on March 25. While it’s good they were able to get a point out of the game, when the playoffs come around, they’ll need to finish strong and find a way to win in any circumstance. A full 60 minutes will be a huge key to defeating one of the league’s best teams, as the Golden Knights will capitalize on any mistake or lapse in play.

Jack Campbell Edmonton Oilers
Jack Campbell, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

A strong game from whoever is between the pipes will also be huge, and it’s fully expected to be Stuart Skinner. The Oilers need a strong game from their special team’s units. Their penalty kill has been strong as of late, and the greatest power play of all time continues to play well, which is exactly what they’ll need to continue.

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A key for the Oilers lately has been the play of their depth players, including trade deadline acquisition Nick Bjugstad, who has led by example with offensive production and a strong defensive game as of late. Players such as Bjugstad, Devin Shore, Warren Foegele, and Klim Kostin will have to continue producing if the Oilers want a chance at jumping into first place in the Pacific Division.

Expected Lineup Changes/Goalie Matchups

There are no major changes expected for either team. Ryan McLeod likely won’t return, while the Golden Knights still have multiple injuries they’ve been dealing with all season. The expected goalie matchup is Skinner versus Jonathan Quick, both have had strong recent stretches of games.

The Golden Knights will still be without Mark Stone, Logan Thompson, Nolan Patrick, Robin Lehner, Reilly Smith, Adin Hill, and William Carrier, while along with McLeod, the Oilers remain without Ryan Murray.

The Oilers have a tough opponent, so a solid game is needed if they want to win and get closer to the top of their division. Just like the last game, if they stick to their game plan and play a full 60 minutes, they’ll be able to pull out a win. They were sloppy against the Coyotes but played quite solid against the Golden Knights a few days prior, so a full team effort and some luck should be able to get them the victory this time around.

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