LAS VEGAS (AP)Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are slowly showing rest of the league there is no better scoring tandem in the NHL. On Saturday night, Edmonton’s dynamic duo taught the Vegas Golden Knights a lesson.
McDavid scored two goals, Draisaitl had three assists, and the Oilers beat the Golden Knights 4-2.
”It was a whole team effort,” Draisaitl said. ”Just a big win.”
Draisaitl and McDavid are first and second in NHL scoring, with 47 and 46 points, respectively. Draisaitl leads the league with 31 assists while McDavid is second with 18 goals and tied for second with 28 assists.
”They’ve been strong all year,” Edmonton coach Dave Tippett said. ”They’re top talent. I would say as good as they’ve been, I think there’s been other parts of our team that have been quite well. They’re obviously vital cogs to what we’re trying to do, but they’ve really bought in to a team atmosphere, the way we want to play as a team.”
Ethan Bear and Markus Granlund also scored for the Pacific Division-leading Oilers. Mike Smith stopped 25 shots to earn his 250th career victory. Smith, 7-6-1 this season, bounced back from a 5-1 loss to Los Angeles on Thursday when he allowed three first-period goals before being replaced by Mikko Koskinen.
Edmonton, 7-3-2 in its last 12 games, moved into a first-place tie with St. Louis Blues atop the Western Conference with 33 points.
”There’s lots of talk about us right now,” McDavid said. ”But I thought it was a complete effort tonight.”
Vegas, meanwhile, came out flat, was outskated and outhustled for much of the game, and couldn’t seem to match Edmonton’s speed or intensity.
Now the Golden Knights hit the road for tests in Dallas and Nashville mired in a 2-5-2 slide after losing the last two during a four-game homestand.
”It was disappointing from the start right to the finish,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. ”The execution wasn’t there tonight, but it’s gotta start with competing and battling and winning those battles. Get your nose dirty a little bit. And it’s not all the guys, there’s some guys. We’ve gotta get more of a team game.
”We just didn’t have any push back and that’s what disappoints me with our group.”
Cody Eakin and Shea Theodore scored for Vegas. Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 27 saves and dropped to 10-4-1 in his career against the Oilers.
McDavid and Bear gave the Oilers a 2-0 lead before Eakin cut the lead in half with 20 seconds remaining in the first period.
Granlund got his 100th career point when cleaned up his own rebound with a backhand to beat Fleury with just under eight minutes to go in the second period.
Theodore responded with his second of the season, ending a 20-game goal drought, when he raced into the zone and used his crafty stick-handling skills to split a pair of defenders in the slot and beat Smith five-hole with 5:41 remaining in the period.
McDavid and Draisaitl struck again, this time on a power play at 2:11 of the third, when Fleury was slow to get back in position. Draisaitl’s pass from behind the goal found McDavid, who one-timed a wrister into the net, extending Edmonton’s to two goals.
”We had stretches in the second where we were kind of showing our game and we were starting to definitely play the right way, but it got away from us a little bit,” Theodore said. ”We’re not even coming close to our expectations, especially with Edmonton coming in. We knew they were gonna be good, we knew they were gonna be fast, I just didn’t think we had that match tonight.”
NOTES: Vegas C Paul Stastny is one game shy of playing in the 900th of his career. … Former Oilers great Wayne Gretzky, who often travels with the team, was in attendance. … Draisaitl has posted nine multi-point efforts in his last 15 and McDavid has 12 multi-point games on the season. … The Golden Knights are now 0-5-1 at home when trailing after two. … McDavid, who leads the Oilers with 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in nine games against Vegas, now has 23 points from 12 goals and 11 assists during a 10-game point streak. … Rookie Patrick Russell, still looking to score his first NHL goal, got his third assist of the season.
Oilers: Continue a five-game trip at Arizona on Sunday.
Golden Knights: Open a two-game trip in Dallas on Monday night.
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