Since Game 1, the Golden Knights and Oilers series hadn’t seen a game within three goals in the final 10 minutes. So, while much has been learned about the matchup between the two teams, close defensive hockey was still a question mark.
That was until last night.
Following the kill of a major penalty that brought the score from 4-2 to 4-3, the Golden Knights put on a clinic in how to defend the most potent offense in the NHL this season.
I thought it was our best all around defensive game. Our team has responded well to situational hockey in the playoffs when we’ve had the lead. We understand the value of easy chances against so we’re making the other team work. We did a really good job of that last night and I think we are good 5-on-5 with the lead. -Bruce Cassidy
Vegas became an entry denial machine that stifled the Oilers for the entire 3rd period, not allowing them to erase the one goal deficit. Edmonton generated a measly four shots on goal in nearly 10 minutes of 5-on-5 hockey. And, the Oilers mustered up just 0.21 expected goals in the 3rd period with all ten skaters on the ice, less than half of what they accumulated in each of the first two periods.
Good gaps, check with our feet, staying tight and defending as five as we have all year. I thought we executed plays really well and we won those battles and got the clears when we needed to and got a couple big stops which you need. There’s a lot to build off of there and I thought we executed well. -Nic Hague
It was all highlighted by one shift though, a shift that wasn’t even played in the defensive end of the ice.