EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The Vegas Golden Knights are used to shuffling goaltenders. When starter Laurent Brossoit had to leave with an injury early in their latest game, Adin Hill came in and led them to a win.
Jonathan Marchessault scored his first two goals of the playoffs, Jack Eichel had a goal and an assist, and the Golden Knights beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-1 on Monday night for a 2-1 lead in their second-round playoff series.
Zach Whitecloud and Chandler Stephenson also scored for Vegas. Brossoit appeared to injure his left leg sliding across the crease and left the game in pain at 11:44 of the first period after turning away three of four shots. Hill stopped all 25 shots he saw in relief.
The Golden Knights started five different goaltenders in the regular season because of injuries before settling on Brossoit as their playoff starter.
“We’ve used a lot of different guys at this position. They’ve all played well,” Golden Knights coach Bruce Cassidy said. “That’s the good part for us. We know the guy going in there is going to make some timely saves. We don’t rely on him to win games for us. It might have to happen here or there, but in general we have tried to play well in front of our goaltender no matter who is in there.”
Warren Foegele scored the first goal of the game for Edmonton before the Golden Knights countered with five. Stuart Skinner was pulled in the second period after giving up four goals on 23 shots. Jack Campbell replaced him and made nine saves.
The Golden Knights took the series opener 6-4 before falling 5-1 at home on Saturday night.
“Forty-eight hours ago, we played a game we really liked,” McDavid said. “Forty-eight hours later, we’re here talking about not a very good one. So, our game is not gone, it’s not far — we need to bring our best Game 4.”
Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is here Wednesday night, followed by Game 5 on Friday night at Las Vegas.
Skinner was removed from Game 4 of Edmonton’s first-round series against the Los Angeles Kings and the Oilers overcame a three-goal deficit to win in overtime with Campbell in net, but there was no similar comeback this time.
Vegas wanted more puck possession in Game 3 and got it. The Golden Knights scored the majority of their goals getting inside defenders and striking from the edge of the crease.
“I just didn’t think we were sharp,” Edmonton head coach Jay Woodcroft said. “I don’t think we skated well. I don’t think our battle level was where it needed to be. … Our team wasn’t good in any area tonight.”
Vegas vowed to spend more time playing even-strength, and not give Edmonton’s vaunted power play running at 56 per cent the minutes it had in Game 2. The Oilers went 0-for-2 with a man advantage in the game, while Vegas was 0 for 4.
“Everyone knows how great their power-play is and it’s important to play as much five-on-five as we can,” Eichel said.
Edmonton center Leon Draisaitl, who came in with 13 goals and four assists in eight playoff games coming in, was held off the scoresheet for the first time Oilers captain Connor McDavid also didn’t record a point for the first time since the series opener against L.A.
They led 2-1 and outshot the Oilers 15-7 after 20 minutes, and then scored three more goals in the second period.
Vegas took a 3-1 lead at 7:25 when Whitecloud skated to the faceoff circle to Skinner’s left and wired a shot over the Edmonton goalie’s glove.
Eichel beat Skinner far side with a wrist shot at 12:03, after Edmonton’s Evan Bouchard fell in the neutral zone to give Eichel a lane. That gave the Golden Knights a three-goal lead and ended Skinner’s night.
The Oilers got a goal overturned for goaltender interference, but Vegas struck again within 20 seconds of that challenge when Nicolas Roy charged in from the wing and Stephenson converted the rebound at 17:13.
Edmonton scored off the rush 2:45 into the game when Foegele redirected Derek Ryan’s pass upstairs on Brossoit.
Eichel and Marchessault combined at 4:44 to even the score 1-1. Eichel gloved a pop fly and dropped the puck beside the crease. In the ensuing flurry, Marchessault wrapped the puck around Skinner’s left pad.
Marchessault scored again with 51 seconds left to put Vegas ahead for good. Eichel carried the puck to the side of the crease and backhanded a pass to the slot for Marchessault to bury.
Oilers forward Zach Hyman was played just a few shifts after his leg collided with Vegas defenseman Nicolas Hague’s at 6:36.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Vegas acquired 37-year-old veteran Jonathan Quick at the trade deadline, so he would shift into a backup role behind Hill if Brossoit’s injury is long term, Cassidy said.
The Golden Knights had one of the best road records in the NHL this season at 26-7-8. They’re now 3-0 away from home in the postseason.
“We might play better on the road,” Cassidy said. “First of all, we’re a veteran group so noise or a hostile crowd doesn’t bother us. I think we’re a four-line hockey team and on the road, you don’t have last change as a coach. You have to trust whoever is going on the ice.”