LAS VEGAS — Leon Draisaitl’s four-goal game wasn’t enough for the Edmonton Oilers in a 6-4 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights to open their second-round playoff series Wednesday.
A night after Joe Pavelski scored four times for the Dallas Stars in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Seattle Kraken to start that series, Draisaitl’s quadruple was similarly for naught.
Ivan Barbashev scored twice and Mark Stone had a goal and an assist for host Vegas.
Chandler Stephenson and Michael Amadio also scored for the Knights with Jack Eichel adding an empty-net goal. Knights defenceman Zach Whitecloud had two assists.
Vegas starter Laurent Brossoit stopped 23 shots for the win, while Edmonton counterpart Stuart Skinner turned away 28 shots in the loss.
Skinner was among the three Calder Trophy nominees announced earlier Wednesday for the NHL’s rookie award.
Draisaitl’s 11 goals lead the NHL post-season. He was the first Oiler to score four goals in a playoff game since Jari Kurri in 1987.
Connor McDavid, Mattias Ekholm and Zach Hyman each had two assists for Edmonton.
Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Saturday in Las Vegas before the series flips to Edmonton for the third and fourth games.
The Oilers beat the Los Angeles Kings in six games in the first round. The Knights had a slightly longer break after dispatching the Winnipeg Jets in five games to advance.
The hosts led 3-2 and carried a 26-15 edge in shots after 40 minutes. After the five-goal fireworks in the first period, neither side scored in the second.
Draisaitl completed a hat trick with a power-play goal at 1:35 of the third while Vegas defenceman Alex Pietrangelo served a roughing minor that carried over from the end of the second period.
But the Knights countered with a pair of goals in less than a minute to lead 5-3. Barbashev notched his second tipping Whitecloud’s shot from the point by Skinner at 2:36.
Edmonton’s goalie didn’t get all of Stephenson’s shot from the hashmarks and the puck trickled into the net at 3:26.
Draisaitl scored his fourth at 8:33 off the rush. With Skinner heading to the bench for an extra attacker, the Oilers were called for too many men with 63 seconds remaining in the game.
Edmonton’s power play that was 56 per cent successful in the first round produced quickly at 3:56 of the opening period.
The Knights countered with three unanswered goals before Draisaitl pulled his team within a goal with 11 seconds left in the period.
Draisaitl, from the side of the net, chipped the puck over Brossoit’s shoulder. The Vegas goalie arched his back too late and the puck rolled off his back and into the net.
Stone redirected Reilly Smith’s shot upstairs on Skinner with the heel of his blade for a power-play goal at 18:23.
Amadio scored off the rush from the top of the faceoff circle on a cross-ice feed from William Karlsson at 9:54.
Vegas converted an Oilers’ turnover behind Edmonton’s net into a flurry around Skinner.
Barbashev found the loose puck in front of the crease to pull Vegas even just 40 seconds after Edmonton’s first goal.
Draisaitl dropping to his knee to one-time a cross-ice feed from McDavid is a signature play with a man advantage. They executed it for an early Oilers’ lead.
Edmonton’s power play converted two of three chances. Vegas was 2-for-4, including Eichel’s empty-netter.
IN AND OUT: Mattias Janmark was briefly back in Edmonton’s lineup Wednesday, but the winger fell backwards into the boards late in the first period and needed assistance off the ice. Janmark hadn’t played since Game 1 against the Kings when he took a shot off the foot. The Oilers continued with 11 forwards and seven defencemen, with Janmark drawing in for an ill Derek Ryan.
Defencemen Shea Theodore and Brayden McNabb played for Vegas after sitting out the fifth game of the Jets series. Phil Kessel also sat out Game 5 and remained out of the lineup for the opener against Edmonton.
STREAKS: Draisaitl has at least a point in all seven post-season games he’s played (11 goals, four assists) … Stone, who missed 39 games of the regular season because of back surgery, extended his playoff points streak to five games (four goals, five assists) … McDavid’s points streak is at six games (three goals, nine assists.)
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 3, 2023.
Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press