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McDavid, Draisaitl lead Oilers to 5-1 win over Knights to even playoff series 1-1

LAS VEGAS — Connor McDavid scored twice, including a short-handed goal, for the Edmonton Oilers in a 5-1 win Saturday over the Vegas Golden Knights to even their playoff series at a win apiece.

McDavid also had an assist for a three-point night at T-Mobile Arena. 

His teammate Leon Draisaitl scored twice for his NHL-leading 12th and 13th playoff goals this season.

The record for playoff goals in a single season is 19 held jointly by Philadelphia Flyer Reggie Leach (1976) and Oiler Jari Kurri (1985).

The best-of-seven Pacific Division final switches to Edmonton for Monday’s Game 3 and Wednesday’s Game 4.

Game 5 will be Friday back in Las Vegas. The Knights took the series opener 6-4.

Oilers defenceman Evan Bouchard scored a power-play goal and assisted on two others. 

Edmonton went 3-for-6 with a man advantage and held the Knights scoreless on three power-play chances.

Edmonton’s Zach Hyman was an effective disrupter in front of the Vegas crease. The forward contributed a pair of assists as did Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner made 30 saves in the win, including a stop on Chandler Stephenson on a breakaway midway through the second period.

The Knights trailed by five goals when Ivan Barbashev struck early in the third.

Knights goaltender Laurent Brossoit was swapped out for Adin Hill late in the second period after Edmonton’s fifth goal on 26 shots. Hill turned away four of four shots in relief.

Barbashev batted a Mark Stone backhand pass out of the air and past Skinner at 1:36 of the third period for Barbashev’s third goal in two games.

McDavid scored his second of the game and Edmonton’s third power-play goal at 11:43 of the second period. 

The captain threaded a sharp-angle shot through a small opening between Brossoit and his right post for McDavid’s fifth of the playoffs.

The game getting out of reach for Vegas, a skirmish involving all players on the ice broke out late in the second. 

Edmonton’s Evander Kane punched Knights’ winger Keegan Kolesar several times during that fray that produced five minor penalties, two majors and Kane’s misconduct.

Kane and Kolesar tangled again with just over five minutes remaining in the third period when Kolesar took a misconduct. 

The Oilers led 4-0 after the opening period on power-play goals by Draisaitl and Bouchard, McDavid’s short-hander and Draisaitl’s second goal.

McDavid appeared to be checking his left ankle or leg after going down by the boards at the end of the first period, but the NHL’s leading scorer this season continued to be a thorn in the side of the Vegas defence.

Vegas challenged Draisaitl’s second goal for goaltender interference, but Knights’ defenceman Nicolas Hague shoved Hyman into Brossoit as Draisaitl fired the puck into the open net.

Kyler Yamamoto worked hard on Draisaitl’s goal collecting his own rebound off the backboards and circling behind the net to feed his teammate at 16:17.

McDavid knocked the puck away from Knights defenceman Shea Theodore at the blue line and took it the Vegas net, where McDavid tucked it under Brossoit’s left pad at 11:11 for a short-handed goal.

The Knights killed off the minor penalty for losing the challenge on Draisaitl’s second goal, but Edmonton’s power-play had already done damage with a pair of goals.

Bouchard scored on a slapshot at 7:01. Draisaitl to the right of Brossoit chipped it over the scrambling goaltender at 2:12. 

PLAYOFF STREAKS: Draisaitl extended his playoff points streak to eight games with 13 goals and four assists.

Bouchard posted his fifth multi-point game of these playoffs and has at last a point in all eight games (three goals, 12 assists). 

The 23-year-old leads the NHL post-season in power-play points with 13.

McDavid has contributed in seven straight games with five goals and 10 assists after he was held off the scoresheet in the series-opener against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Knights’ Stone stretched his point streak to six games with four goals and seven assists in that span. 

NOTES: Edmonton’s power play is 14-for-24 so far in the post-season. … The Oilers were minus winger Mattias Janmark in Game 2 with Derek Ryan drawing back into the lineup. Janmark fell backward into the boards in Game 1. … Phil Kessel was a Knights’ scratch for a third straight game. … The Knights said the 18,504 at T-Mobile on Saturday was the highest attendance since April 16, 2019.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2023.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press