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Apr 9, 2024 8:53 pm

Knights might avoid Connor McDavid in meeting with Oilers

connor mcdavid

The Vegas Golden Knights will close their regular-season road schedule on Wednesday night when they face the host Edmonton Oilers for what could be a preview of a first-round playoff series in the Western Conference.

It marks the final contest of a three-game road trip to forget for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who are chasing the Los Angeles Kings for third place in the Pacific Division and currently occupy the final wild-card spot in the West.

Vegas (42-27-8, 92 points) started the trip by yielding six unanswered third-period goals in a 7-4 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Friday, and it followed that up by blowing a 3-2, second-period lead in a 4-3 loss against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday.

The potential good news for the Golden Knights is that they may not have to face reigning MVP Connor McDavid.

McDavid, who is third in the league in points with 130 (31 goals, 99 assists), didn’t practice on Tuesday because of a lower-body injury.

McDavid landed awkwardly during a rush toward the net with just over 6 1/2 minutes remaining in Edmonton’s 4-2 win against the Calgary Flames on Saturday. He is listed as day-to-day.

The Oilers (47-24-5, 99 points) still have an outside chance of catching Vancouver (48-22-8, 104 points) for the Pacific Division crown.

“The most important thing is playoffs and that we are ready,” Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch said. “I think we’ve got depth. Obviously, you’re not going to replace Connor, but we do have other healthy bodies when we’re short a man. We want to make sure we’re as healthy as possible going into playoffs.”

Forward Dylan Holloway was recalled from AHL affiliate Bakersfield on Tuesday just in case McDavid can’t go.

“It’ll be in Connor’s hands,” Knoblauch said of whether McDavid will play. “We don’t know how bad the injury is and we don’t know how early he can come in. He has the best feel of what’s best for him.”

Vegas, which will again be without defenseman Alex Pietrangelo because of illness, trailed the third-place Los Angeles Kings by one point in the Pacific heading into Tuesday night’s action. The Golden Knights play their final four regular-season games at home, where they are 24-11-2.

Forward Tomas Hertl, a key trade deadline acquisition from the San Jose Sharks, made his Vegas debut in the Vancouver loss. Hertl had an assist and won 6 of 9 faceoffs in 20:20 in his first game since undergoing left knee surgery. He hadn’t played since Jan. 27.

“First game after a long time, and it wasn’t bad, but I know I will be better,” Hertl said. “It’s nice to be back, but I still got five more games to get all my legs.”

Jack Eichel had two first-period goals and a second-period assist in the loss, his sixth three-point game of the season.

“I thought there was stretches of the game where we controlled it, and there were moments where they obviously had momentum. It’s frustrating,” Eichel said. “We had a lead and we don’t get any points here, and points are important right now.”

–Field Level Media

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