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William Karlsson Passed An Impossible Test, Keying The End Of The Oilers’ Streak

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Having not played a game in nearly five weeks, William Karlsson was tasked with one of the most difficult jobs in the NHL. Stop Connor McDavid.

Might as well throw me into the fire, or to the wolves, or whatever you guys say. Yeah, just right at it, so I better be on my toes. -William Karlsson

Playing alongside a makeshift line created specifically for this matchup, Karlsson, Michael Amadio, and Jonas Rondbjerg pulled it off.

I thought Karly did a great job against McDavid. He played against him not all the time but a lot of the time, and they did a really good job. You have to if you are going to beat Edmonton. You’ve got to keep him in check. He’s going to get his looks but all in all Karly did his job great. -Cassidy

In eight minutes of ice time against the league’s best player, Karlsson’s line allowed just three shots on goal while starting every shift either in the defensive or neutral zone. As Cassidy said, McDavid and Co. got their looks, they generated 12 shot attempts, four high-danger chances, and .56 expected goals, but when the game ended the Oilers had not recorded a single goal at even strength.

Karlsson shoulders the brunt of the load as the center, but his wingers deserve a ton of credit as well. Jonas Rondbjerg delivered his usual solid defensive outing while Michael Amadio has continued to insert himself among VGK’s most reliable players.

Amadio is an important part of our team that probably flies under the radar because he’s not a big special teams guy. We need him to be more of a veteran out there that we can rely on and as the night went on he did a good job. Listen, he’s playing against McDavid, he’s the best player in the world, so we’re showing faith in him and he gave it back to us. That’s going to bode well for his teammates for the coaching staff, for everybody. That’s how you gain respect and he did a great job. -Cassidy

The shutdown role Karlsson, Amadio, and Rondbjerg provided the rest of the forward group better offensive matchups. Jonathan Marchessault, Ivan Barbashev, and Nic Roy had to share the ice with McDavid for just three minutes and it led to them having the most effective offensive game for the Golden Knights.

This is the blueprint for Vegas to continue its success against their most dangerous Pacific Division rival. With the Oilers playing much better defense this year than last, keeping McDavid at bay becomes even more important. If the Golden Knights can designate one line to eat up most of the minutes against him, it frees up everyone else. It worked in February, if these two teams meet when the games really count, Vegas expects it to work again.

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31 Comments

  1. JB

    Karly may very well be the most valuable player on our team!

    • knights fan in minny

      i agree

      • Skåning

        Cassy, called Karlsson for, Karly.. va fan, girly names;)

        Soon, Cassy might call Røndbjerg for Rønda too;)

        Disappointed, Kalle missed his first empty net, who gets two empty net tries a match anyway;)

    • Emmanuel

      They can lose any player and still have a decent chance at the Cup…..
      ….except Pietrangelo, if hes out no Cup.

    • JB – truer words were never spoken or posted. It’s great that he’s back – not sure what happened in the Winter Classic but whatever it was certainly hurt Vegas for five weeks.

  2. DL

    Picture looks more like McJesus trying to stop Wild Bill. And that’s how it looked for most of the game. How many times did I see an Oilers player grabbing, holding, friggin bear hugging, VGK players? Am I alone in seeing this? And the refs never made a call, and certainly not a call on 97 or 29. It’s BS!!! Here we won and I’m still complaining. Because it’s true!

    • DL

      Meant to also add putting VGK players in complete headlocks.

      • DocDG

        During the game I figured out that the refs were paying a tribute to the upcoming super bowl. They turned it into a game of tackle hockey. The problem was that they forgot to tell Vegas about it.

    • Seriously? Go get a tissue! Wah!

    • TC702

      You are not alone DL! There was one play where mccrybaby jumped on the ice and literally grabbed our player from their bench to mid ice(side to side). I can’t count how many holds went uncalled but was far too many imo. But the boys pulled out a great win.

  3. Leon D

    If they play that exact same game 7 times in a playoff series the Oilers would win it pretty easily. Outside of goaltending (the most important position) the Oilers were better all over the ice. They generated way more high quality of chances than VGK did. Vegas could easily be out in the first round you under estimate the Oilers. Lol @breaking Connor and Leon

    • knights fan in minny

      that was not a full healthy vegas squad and your oil got beat you should revaluate. Your statement

    • Tc702

      I don’t believe that would be the outcome. Possible yes, but as others have stated we didn’t dress our normal line up and to say better all over the ice is a stretch. They had some decent segments in the game but outside their lucky shorty they were handled pretty well I say. . Even playing with one guy high on our blue line hoping for a long stretch pass to have a chance tells me they didn’t feel confident on 5v5. And this all doesn’t include the missed holds that were going on.

  4. Bruce Silliman

    To be gone as long as he was, and to then do a great job on McDavid, is a testimony to his skill and dedication. I agree with JB in that Karly is our most valuable player. He really showed that last year and while Marchy was winning the SC MVP award it probably wouldn’t have happened were it not for Karly’s defense. He used it against the Jets, Oilers, Stars, and Panthers but it is not always apparent to most of our fans. But I’ll bet that when the other team’s coach is outlining a strategy to beat us WK is always mentioned.

    • knights fan in minny

      you are spot on bruce wild bill is a complete player loved watching him and smitty kill penalties

  5. ThG

    strat rated no 17 a 3/4 last year
    eichel was 4/2
    and stone was a 4/4

    so was petro, a 4/4

  6. knights fan in minny

    the hockey news reporting vegas interest in duclair

  7. CANADA

    As a fan I loved it , Playoff Hockey . Hill , Karly, awsome . No doubt we got a few good bounces and a post. But what I saw was a team that stopped the Oilers cold . Tight hard checking the Oilers were not ready for us we were razzle dazzled for about 10 minutes and then we delivered a good thumping. We could have had easily 2 or 3 more pps, the refs decided to let them play. Not sure that would have helped us ,we are still sadly better 5 on 5. Loved every minute of that game . Confidence builder for us. Would have loved to see the Oilers get that record but not in our house.

  8. Jake

    Edmonton is soft and filled with chokers.

    Vegas played without their #1 forward and #1 blueliner and won.

    Hill – A+

    • Emmanuel

      I dont think they are soft just all around poor defensively thats why they get rocked in the playoffs.

      • Leon D

        Yeah they gave up 2 goals or less for past 16 games even this one the 3rd was into an empty net. Vegas had few good chances. Did you watch the game?

        • knights fan in minny

          you lost get over it and guess what skinner won’t win you a cup you better get fluery

  9. Earl the Replanted Transplant

    When we get the rest of the band back together, look out. Other teams have not had near the injuries the VGK have suffered this year while still remaining a contender. If we hit the playoffs healthy we may get another epic speech. Keep the realm uKnighted, and be ready to bump the Abba.

  10. Tim

    One of the few times I can remember everyone being right on Sin Bin no matter what side you took, Karly and Hill had exceptional games and the rest of the team chipped in. On the other side Conner M. and Leon D. are a handful and will be a force and a tough out in the playoffs. Somehow we have to catch Vancouver to take first in the Pacific not impossible but we’ve got to play our best hockey not this up and down hockey we’ve played all year. It starts tonight with Arizona one game one win at a time. February favors us with a light schedule which gives us both rest between games and time to practice against our upcoming opponents tendencies.

  11. ThG

    R.I.P
    Toby Keith, hall of famer

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