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Tag: Darnell Nurse

Vegas Unfazed By Delusional Oilers Hype

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Edmonton Oilers’ historic streak came to a close on Tuesday in a typical, and most predictable fashion, by losing to the Golden Knights. The same team that ended Edmonton’s playoff dreams and sent them into an offseason and then early season, spiral spoiled their chance at becoming NHL immortals.

Since December 21st, the two Pacific contenders were heading in different directions. In that timeframe, the Golden Knights lost first-place to the Vancouver Canucks and the Oilers leapfrogged several teams in the division. However, all of that came to a halting crash on Tuesday after the better team came out on top.

It’s always a tough game in this building, we were expecting that. Disappointing, but we move on. It’s been a while since we’ve done that, and you forget sometimes how bad you hate losing. It’s a good reminder. -Connor McDavid, EDM captain

For the umpteenth time, Vegas proved to be more well-rounded. Just like in the 2023 postseason, the reigning champions are better coached, defend and protect the net better, and have an overall better lineup than the Oilers. Sure, there are no players in VGK’s lineup that match skills with Edmonton’s Connor McDavid or Leon Draiaitl but the comparison ends there. While the Golden Knights possess a Stanley Cup-winning roster, the Oilers are a two-man motor that perennially over-exhausts.

We’re back in the hunt, and we’re not content by any means. I think we worked hard to get ourselves into this position, but we lost tonight to a team in our division that we played a lot over the last couple years. It’s gonna leave a bad taste in our mouths. -Darnell Nurse, EDM defenseman

This summer I hammered the Oiler’s inflated confidence heading into the 2023-24 season. Some of it may have come from the exaggerated expectations by dozens of Canadian hockey analysts but Edmonton’s optimism was completely shattered 12 games in. Now that Edmonton has bounced back and is projected to qualify for the playoffs, their sole focus should be directed toward Vegas. To win the Western Conference, the Oilers will most likely have to face the Golden Knights. Going off past history, Vegas will likely prevail on the big stage in under seven games. Tuesday’s poorly designated ESPN+ matchup was just a sample.

Edmonton defenseman Darnell Nurse had a realistic reaction to their first loss in 46 days. On the other hand, Nurse’s captain hasn’t accepted that the Golden Knights are the more complete team. Likely, for a second straight season.

There’s a lot of things we’ve got to do, there’s a lot of things they’ve got to do to get to that situation. Obviously, we’d love to play Vegas in a playoff series again. Makes for great hockey. -McDavid

When asked who the Oilers current rivals were, McDavid veered away from his notorious robotic responses. A geographical rival is one thing but choosing the LA Kings over the reigning champions is puzzling and almost impossible to take seriously.

Good question. For me, it’s Calgary, then L.A., right now. I’d say those two. -McDavid

Has McDavid turned into the most delusional superstar in sports?

Vegas Won As A Team By Dominating Every Important Individual Matchup

(Photo Credit: Ken Boehlke, SinBin.vegas)

In a series highlighted by individuals, both head coaches kept using the term “team” in the postgame press conferences directly after Game 6.

Nobody on our team is asked to carry the team on their back. That’s part of the story here is the team that plays the best usually wins. We feel our team outplayed their team. It wasn’t about this player outplayed this player or this goalie against this goalie. -Bruce Cassidy

We win as a team and we don’t win as a team and we stick together. -Jay Woodcroft

While both coaches are absolutely correct, the reason the Golden Knights won as a team was they won all of the key individual matchups in the series. From front to back to on the ice and off, Vegas dominated in all the places necessary to beat the Edmonton Oilers and now they’re headed to the Western Conference Final for the fourth time in six years.

Here are five specific matchups the Golden Knights got the better of on their way to dispatching the world’s greatest player in the second round.

Jack Eichel and Jonathan Marchessault vs Cody Ceci and Darnell Nurse

You don’t have to look further than the scoring numbers when breaking down this matchup. Eichel was 5-1 against Ceci and 4-1 against Nurse while Marchessault was 6-1 against Ceci and 4-1 against Nurse.

Beyond the scoring though, the Golden Knights’ forwards were consistently able to hold the puck in the offensive zone against Ceci and Nurse. Eichel in particular was excellent in gaining controlled entry over the course of the series which relieved pressure on the VGK defense and forced whichever forward line was against them to defend. Marchessault’s forechecking caused havoc and he scored four times from directly in front of the goal.

In a series where puck possession was always going to be paramount for the Golden Knights, Eichel and Marchessault delivered in as big a way as they could over the six games. The Oilers only had one pair that should have been able to handle these two, and they weren’t able to do it.

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Pacific North Teams Won’t Make It Easy On Visiting Knights

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Vegas is arguably on their most important road trip of the season beginning tonight in Vancouver. Three games against three hungry Canadian teams from the Pacific Division. The Canucks are desperately scratching and clawing, the Flames are in 1st place, and the Oiler’s high-powered offense has likely fueled them to the playoffs. There’s no understating, the next set of games are vital to Vegas’ postseason pursuit.

We’re doing whatever it takes to win. Whether it’s killing big penalties or scoring big goals on the power play. We have the ability in our room. It’s just a matter of us going out there and do it. -Bo Horvat, VAN captain

Let’s start with Vancouver. As Golden Knights fans watched last week the Canucks are not a team to take lightly. The team in green and blue are riding a three-game win streak and have no room for mistakes.

We all know how we have to finish this season. There’s no point of putting all of the stress on yourself. Every game is stressful because it’s do or die. We’ll play the right way and give ourselves a chance. It’s right in front of us. -JT Miller, VAN forward

Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau has his players loose and motivated for a chance to shock the conference. If Vegas drops tonight’s game, Vancouver will be only two points behind them. Vegas fans are already scoreboard watching LA, Dallas, and Nashville games, there’s not enough energy to keep tabs on another. That’s why the Golden Knights must play sound defensively, take advantage of second chances and get their star players back to form. Most importantly, leave British Columbia with two points.

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