The Vegas Golden Knights look to be hitting their stride at just the right part of the season.
They won for the eighth time in their past nine games on Sunday night with a 6-3 dismantling of the Edmonton Oilers as they continue to look like of the Western Conference’s best teams heading into the stretch run.
For the Oilers, the loss all but crushes their remaining playoff hopes even though Connor McDavid became the first player since 2007 to record eight consecutive multi-point games and Leon Draisaitl scored his 43rd goal of the season, the second-highest total in the league. As has been the case all season (and for three of the past four seasons), their brilliance offensively was not anywhere near enough to make up for the shortcomings elsewhere on the roster, particularly in net, as they were unable to slow down the Golden Knights’ balanced attack.
The Golden Knights have now scored 35 goals in their past nine games and have played at a pretty dominant level during that stretch. Entering play on Sunday they were among the top possession and scoring chance teams during 5-on-5 play in the month of March, a great sign for them with the playoffs just around the corner.
With Max Pacioretty and Paul Stastny healthy, and Mark Stone in the mix after his acquisition from the Ottawa Senators, the Golden Knights now have two great scoring lines at the top of their lineup and an outstanding third line.
Their depth is so good right now that their leading scorer entering play on Sunday, second-year forward Alex Tuch, is skating on their third line.
The Golden Knights are pretty much locked into the third playoff spot in the Pacific Division, and will have a game against one of their potential first-round opponents — the San Jose Sharks — on Monday night.
As for the Oilers, well, they are now seven points out of a playoff spot with still four teams ahead of them with only 10 games remaining on their schedule this season. It seems as if they are destined to miss the postseason for the third time in four years in the McDavid era and the 12th time in the past 13 seasons of the salary cap era.