Keys to tonight’s game: Oilers at Golden Knights
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)
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
GAME DAY LINES VEGAS (PROJECTED)
Reilly Smith, William Karlssonk
David Perronk Oscar Lindbergk
Brandon Leipsick Cody Eakink
Tomas Nosekk Pierre-Edouard
Bellemare, Ryan Carpenter
Brayden McNabb, Nate Schmidt
Deryk Engelland, Shea Theodore
Colin Miller, Brad Hunt
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)