Oilers at Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights hope to continue their surprising inaugural-season success after a six-day break as they start the second half against the visiting Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. The Golden Knights have gone 14-1-1 since Dec. 3 to climb to the top of the Western Conference and are coming off a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Sunday that featured another strong performance from All-Star goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (9-2-1).
“I didn’t expect this because I haven’t played too many games this year,” Fleury told reporters after being named to the Pacific Division squad. “I’m excited because it’s always a nice honor to be a part of. I just feel like there’s so many great players around the league and they only pick a few.” Vegas hopes to take advantage of the disappointing Oilers, who rallied for a 4-2 victory over Arizona on Friday to snap their three-game losing streak. Edmonton defenseman Darnell Nurse scored twice while captain Connor McDavid added a pair of assists to reach 50 points and pull within two of 200 for his career in just 172 games. “It proves that we haven’t rolled over and played dead,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan told reporters after the win. “But I haven’t felt that from our group at all through the whole year.”
TV: 10 p.m. ET, CBC, Sportsnet (Edmonton), AT&T SportsNet-Rocky Mountain (Vegas)
ABOUT THE OILERS (19-23-3): Ryan Nugent-Hopkins recorded just his second point in seven games on Friday with his 16th goal of the season to take over the team lead - one better than McDavid, who will participate in the All-Star Game later this month. Patrick Maroon recorded just his second goal in 16 games on Friday to reach double digits for the second straight season and third in his career. Cam Talbot (15-16-2) was pulled after allowing two goals on three shots against the Coyotes and watched backup Al Montoya stop all 19 shots he faced for the win.
ABOUT THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS (29-10-2): Jonathan Marchessault was not named to the All-Star team despite leading Vegas in points (40) and has recorded six goals along with eight assists over his last 10 contests. William Karlsson, who has scored seven of his team-high 22 goals over his last eight games, also deserved consideration, but the veteran James Neal was selected after netting 18 tallies. Fleury has gone 6-1-1 with a .956 save percentage in eight contests after missing almost two months with a concussion.
1. The Oilers handed the Golden Knights their only loss in 12 games against Pacific Division rivals, an 8-2 home setback on Nov. 14.
2. Vegas D Luca Sbisa, who has recorded 10 points and a plus-6 rating in 24 games, will miss 6-to-8 weeks with a hand injury.
3. Edmonton C Ryan Strome has gone eight games without a point and has registered one shot in his last two contests.