Skip to main content


Hyman, Draisaitl step up in McDavid's absence to push Oilers past Golden Knights

Edmonton Oilers Celebrate Edmonton Oilers Celebrate - The Canadian Press

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers plotted the correct course even without their captain on Wednesday.

Zach Hyman and Leon Draisaitl each had a goal and an assist as the Oilers sailed past the Vegas Golden Knights 5-1 despite the absence of star forward Connor McDavid.

Cody Ceci, Mattias Ekholm and Dylan Holloway also scored while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan McLeod had a pair of assists each for Edmonton (48-24-5), which won a third game in a row.

“When you’re missing the best player in the world you don’t try to replace him,” Hyman said. “Everyone as a group has to step up and play better, and collectively I thought it was one of our better games of the season. Everyone on the same page.

“You want to play your best going into the playoffs. Three wins and two of the three were really good outings for us.”

The Oilers hit 100 points in the standings in a third consecutive season for the second time in franchise history. They hit the century mark six times in a row from 1981-82 to 1986-87.

Edmonton is 10-0-1 in its last 11 games at home, outscoring opponents 54-20 in that span.

“You have to take care of your home ice, that is first and foremost,” said Oilers forward Corey Perry. “On the road it is a different game, but at home we have put some solid games together lately and we are going to have to continue to do that.”

McDavid missed the game with a lower-body injury but is considered day-to-day. He's stuck at 99 assists on the season, needing only one more to become just the fourth player in NHL history to hit 100.

Keegan Kolesar scored the lone goal for the Golden Knights (42-28-8), who lost a third straight.

“Right now, our game’s nowhere where we need to be, and even if we were to get in it might be a quick bounce for us out of there,” Kolesar said.

Frustration abounds right now for the defending Stanley Cup champs.

“We've got to take care of business, we're not in the playoffs yet,” said Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault. “We've got to start playing like we want to be in it and we need more than just a couple guys every night. We need everybody and right now we don't have that."

The Oilers started the scoring midway through the opening period.

Ceci hustled in from the point and sent a shot from a bad angle that hit the skate of Vegas defender Alec Martinez and deflected cleanly past Adin Hill for his fourth goal of the season.

Ekholm continued his torrid pace of late with his 11th of the season coming 5:38 into the second period. He leads all NHL defencemen in five-on-five points since the NHL all-star break with 25.

Edmonton made it 3-0 eight minutes into the middle frame as Hill made a pad save on a shot by Nugent-Hopkins, but couldn’t stop Hyman from depositing his team-leading 53rd of the season on the rebound.

Vegas continued to have trouble getting to Oilers starter Stuart Skinner, who stopped Anthony Mantha on a breakaway with six minutes left in the second.

The Oilers went up 4-0 seven minutes into the third on a two-man advantage. Nugent-Hopkins found Draisaitl in his office for a one-timer and his 41st of the year.

The Golden Knights broke Skinner’s shutout bid a minute later, however, as Noah Hanifin sent Kolesar in for a short-handed breakaway goal.

Holloway, recalled from Bakersfield of the American Hockey League as a result of McDavid's injury, made a positive impact midway through the third. Hill left the puck behind his net, but the Oilers forward hit the jets and stole the puck before scoring his fourth of the season on a wraparound.


It was the third and final meeting between the two teams which have developed bad blood over the past couple campaigns, including last year’s playoffs when the Golden Knights knocked the Oilers out in the second round. … The Golden Knights had a bunch of holes in their lineup, missing the likes of Alex Pietrangelo, Mark Stone, Chandler Stephenson and Nicolas Roy … However, Vegas goalie Hill returned and started after missing seven games with a lower-body injury … Vegas was at one point sitting 20 points ahead of the Oilers in the standings, but Edmonton came into Wednesday’s contest with a seven-point lead over the Knights.


Golden Knights: Begin a season-ending four-game homestand against the Minnesota Wild on Friday.

Oilers: Play host to the Arizona Coyotes in the second game of a four-game homestand on Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 10, 2024.