Golden Knights coach Bruce Cassidy could only laugh at the brilliance of Leon Draisaitl, who scored four goals to nearly beat Vegas by himself.
However, the Golden Knights prevailed in Game 1 of the second-round playoff series because their depth made the difference in Wednesday night’s 6-4 win over the Edmonton Oilers.
Ivan Barbashev scored twice, including one that put Las Vegas ahead for good, and was one of five Knights players to find the back of the net.
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It was the second night in a row that a team had won despite allowing an opposing player to score four goals. Seattle beat Dallas 5-4 on Tuesday even with Joe Pavelski scoring four goals for the Stars. Teams with a four-goal player had gone 36-3 before that playoff game, and a team hadn’t surpassed a performance like that in 30 years.
This was the Oilers’ first regulation loss since March 11.
«Overall, we weren’t good enough,» Draisaitl said. «It’s not even close to how we played. We have to keep going and we’ll be better.»
In addition to Barbashev, the Knights also conceded goals from Chandler Stephenson, Michael Amadio, Mark Stone and Jack Eichel. Eichel’s goal was an empty net from deep in his zone, and he and Stone each also had an assist. Zach Whitecloud had two assists.
Evan Bouchard, Mattias Ekholm, Zach Lyman and Connor McDavid each had two assists for the Oilers.
«I don’t think our team was anywhere near where it needed to be to get a road win in the playoffs,» Edmonton coach Jay Woodcroft said. «Leon put in a great effort. He’s been good throughout the playoffs, but our team can do a lot better than tonight.»
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The second game is Saturday in Las Vegas.
Draisaitl extended his scoring streak to four games and has at least one point in all seven playoff games. He had never scored four goals in a playoff game and had reached that mark only once in the regular season: on March 2, 2020 against Nashville.
Draisaitl has 11 postseason goals.
«Sounds funny to you? 11 goals in the second round,» Cassidy said. «That is incredible.»
Two of his goals against Las Vegas came on power plays, making Edmonton 11-for-19 this postseason with the man advantage. The Oilers set an NHL record during the regular season by converting 32.4% of their chances.
A goal, even hard, came late in the first period when Draisaitl bounced a puck off Knights goaltender Laurent Brossoit from the goal line.
This series was billed as the Oilers’ star power against the Knights’ balanced attack, and that’s how the opening game played out. Vegas found a way even with one of the most dynamic scorers in the NHL having a run night.
«We use all four of our lines,» Cassidy said. «We didn’t have to stray too far from our lane combinations. We’re aware of their best players and the damage they can do, but we like our team. We feel if our team plays well, we’ll be successful.»
After Draisaitl scored on a power play less than two minutes into the third period to make it 3-3, the Knights took the lead for good with two goals in 50 seconds. Barbashev scored from the rebound and Stephenson from the right circle.
«It doesn’t matter who scores, them or us, the next change is huge,» Barbashev said. «I think we did a better job with it. It feels good.»
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Oilers forward Mattias Janmark fell strangely on the boards in the first period and was taken to the locker room. … Edmonton goaltender Stuart Skinner is one of three finalists for the Calder Trophy, which goes to the league’s best rookie. … In addition to Draisaitl, Bouchard also has points in all seven games this postseason, and McDavid is on a six-game point streak. For Vegas, Mark Stone has points in five straight games.