Keys to tonight’s game: Oil­ers at Golden Knights

Edmonton Journal - - SPORTS - IN­JURIES SPE­CIAL TEAMS

Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers at Ve­gas Golden Knights 8 p.m., MT at T-Mo­bile Arena, TV: Sport­snet, ra­dio: 630 CHED

AN­OTHER OIL­ERS WIN?

The Oil­ers are one of the NHL’s five worst teams but they’re also the only team that’s beaten the Golden Knights twice, 8-2 at home and 3-2 in over­time on Dar­nell Nurse’s goal in Las Ve­gas. The Golden Knights have only lost twice to Pa­cific Di­vi­sion teams all year, both to Ed­mon­ton. First game mi­nor-lea­guer Max La­gace was in net for the blowout, but they beat starter Marc-An­dre Fleury last month.

GET OUT RALLY CAPS

Ve­gas scored four in the third – three in three shots by Brad Hunt, Reilly Smith and David Per­ron – to beat Chicago Tues­day after be­ing down 2-1 after 40 min­utes. They ’re 6-9-1 when trail­ing after two pe­ri­ods, tied with New Jersey Devils for the NHL’s best record at get­ting a win with a third-pe­riod comeback.

SCOR­ING BY COM­MIT­TEE

The Golden Knights have four 20-goal scor­ers, which ties them with Tampa for the NHL’s best. Un­sung cen­tre Wil­liam Karls­son leads with 29, James Neal has 24, for­mer Min­nesota checker Erik Haula has 21 and Jonathan Marches­sault has 20. Tampa has Nikita Kucherov at 30, Yanni Gourde at 22, Steven Stamkos at 20 and Bray­den Point at 20.

AL­WAYS HAVE THE PUCK

Karls­son, who couldn’t catch any trac­tion when he played cen­tre in Colum­bus, and winger Reilly Smith, who was deemed too ex­pen­sive for Florida be­fore the ex­pan­sion draft, lead the NHL in plus­mi­nus. Karls­son is plus-31 and Smith plus-27, tied with Bru­ins Zdeno Chara. Jonathan Marches­sault is 10th at plus-24.

PENALTY KILL ON ROAD

The Oil­ers, who seem to give up power-play goals at home for fun, lead the NHL with an 86.4 per­cent­age away from Rogers Place, only al­low­ing 12 goals in 88 at­tempts. They’re a smidgen better than Nashville (86.2). In the last 12 games on the road, they’ve killed off 31 of 34 tries. At home, they’ve given up 38 goals in 84 tries.

GAME DAY LINES ED­MON­TON (PRO­JECTED)

For­wards

Pa­trick Ma­roon, Con­nor McDavid, ■ Ryan Strome

Mi­lan Lu­cic, Leon Drai­saitl, Mike Cam­mal­leri

Drake Cag­giula, Ju­jhar Khaira, Jesse Pulju­jarvi

An­ton Slepy­shev, Mark Letestu, Zack Kas­sian De­fence

Dar­nell Nurse, Brandon David­son

Os­car Klef­bom, Kris Rus­sell

Matt Ben­ning, Yo­hann Au­vitu

Goal

Cam Tal­bot

Al Mon­toya

GAME DAY LINES VE­GAS (PRO­JECTED)

For­wards

Reilly Smith, Wil­liam Karlssonk

Jonathan Marches­sault

David Per­ronk Os­car Lind­bergk

James Neal

Brandon Leip­sick Cody Eakink

Alex Tuch

To­mas Nosekk Pierre-Edouard

Belle­mare, Ryan Car­pen­ter

De­fence

Bray­den McNabb, Nate Schmidt

Deryk En­gel­land, Shea Theodore

Colin Miller, Brad Hunt

Goal

Marc-An­dre Fleury

Maxime La­gace

Oil­ers: C Ryan Nu­gent-Hop­kins (cracked ribs), D An­drej Sek­era (fa­cial in­jury), D Adam Lars­son (per­sonal leave)

Golden Knights: Luca Sbisa (hand surgery), Erik Haula (flu), Mal­colm Sub­ban (up­per-body), Jon Mer­rill (up­per-body), Will Car­rier (undis­closed)

WHO TO WATCH

Karls­son vs McDavid

Who would have ever thought that was a nice head-to-head bat­tle? Karls­son’s shoot­ing per­cent­age of 24.4 is best in the league, one of those blue-moon sea­sons with his 29 goals in 119 shots. Only Alex Ovechkin, Ev­geni Malkin and an­other Rus­sian, Nikita Kucherov. have more goals. McDavid has 12 points in his last six games with 19 of his 23 goals scored even­strength. He’s tied for third in NHL scor­ing with Phil Kes­sel and Claude Giroux at 66 points.

Oil­ers: PP 22-147 15 per cent, (30th). PK 50-17 70.9 per cent (31st) Golden Knights: PP 37-178 20.8 per cent (13th). PK 30-163 81.6 per cent (14th)

Wil­liam Karls­son

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