The Edmonton Oilers won their third in a row with a 2-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights Saturday night at Rogers Place.
The Golden Knights dominated the opening minutes of the game. Mikko Koskinen came up with several excellent saves to bail out the Oilers.
“They came at us with a championship mentality,” Oilers coach Ken Hitchcock said. “They wanted to put us on our heels and keep us there and we had to dig in and fight back.”
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Just past the six minute mark, Connor McDavid bolted down the left wing and started that fight back Hitchcock spoke of. He cut in around Braydon McNabb, started across the front of the net on his backhand, then moved the puck back to his forehand and flipped a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury.
“It was a goal,” Fleury said with a chuckle. “He’s got quick hands. I’ve got him the next time though.”
“He’s a world-class player. You’ve got to keep an eye on him,” Vegas forward Reilly Smith said of McDavid.
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William Karlsson tied it in the second period when his centring pass banked in off Oscar Klefbom.
Ryan Spooner scored the winner 5:50 into the third. Jujhar Khaira centered it, and Spooner swept a low shot past Fleury for his first as an Oiler.
“It’s been kind of a rough start here for me and I’ve been getting into my own head,” Spooner said. “I’ve just got to get out there and play, though, and like I said, I just want to help out.”
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The Golden Knights pulled Fleury with 1:50 to go but couldn’t muster the tying goal.
“[Spooner’s line] gave us nine minutes and if the coach was a little smarter, he would have played them more,” Hitchcock said. “We got good minutes from them and if that’s the kind of game we’re going to get moving forward then we will end up with two third lines, which is exactly what we need.”
Koskinen made 31 saves to improve to 8-2-1. He holds a perfect 5-0 record at Rogers Place.
The Oilers, 13-11-2, will visit Dallas on Monday.
–with files from Brenden Escott and Scott Johnston