2023 NHL Playoffs Second Round Preview: Edmonton Oilers vs Vegas Golden Knights

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

2023 NHL Playoffs Second Round Preview: Edmonton Oilers vs Vegas Golden Knights


2023 NHL Playoffs Second Round Preview: Edmonton Oilers vs Vegas Golden Knights


The two best teams in the Pacific Division will go to war in the second round of the NHL Playoffs. The Oilers with the two best players in the world go against the Vegas Golden Knights who dominated the Pacific Division this year. This will be a series that should showcase a lot of star power and a lot of intensity with plenty of individual matchups to focus on. McDavid vs Eichel, Broissoit vs Skinner, Draisaitl vs Stone. This Oilers and Golden Knights series should be one of epic proportions and should generate a ton of excitement around two premier teams projected to go the distance.

Head-To-Head Matchup:

During the regular season, the Oilers dominated the Golden Knights going 3-0-1 against them. Granted, during a good part of the regular season the Golden Knights experienced a ton of injuries. But even with the injuries, both teams scored a ton of goals through four regular season matchups. The first three games of the season series were close. Each of them ended 4–3, with two requiring overtime to resolve.

The Oilers scored 18 goals while the Golden Knights scored 14, for a total of 32 goals during their regular season matchups. But now that we are in the playoffs and Vegas is looking a lot more healthy, the Oilers will have a serious challenge on their hands. Both have elite offensive capabilities. But the Oilers have the massive edge solely because of McDavid and Draisaitl. Where both teams start to differ massively is on the defensive end. The Oilers don’t compare with the strength of their defense when looking at the Golden Knights’ blueline. Alex Pietrangelo, Shea Theodore, Alec Martinez, and Brayden Mcnabb are a talented, experienced, and rock-solid group of defenders on the blue line. The Oilers are going to have it a lot tougher than they did against the Kings to enter or sustain zone pressure with those guys patrolling the defensive end. 


What to Watch:

Oilers: McDavid and Draisaitl

Did you really think I was going to put anything else here? Both players have 21 points combined through six games in the playoffs right now! They have otherworldly talent that teams can only dream of in a single player, let alone the Oilers having that kind of excellence with two players. Their sheer dominance with the puck and ability to find passing lanes and scoring opportunities that either plays can’t envision is the main reason they are this successful. 

Golden Knights: Defensive Depth

As I mentioned earlier, the Golden Knights’ defensive corps is stacked. And that’s not even the start of it. Their forwards have some elite defensive ability as well. Mark Stone has been one of, if not the best, two-way winger in the NHL. His ability to shut down opponents while scoring on the other end of the ice always puts him in the running for the Selke Trophy. With some other names like Jack Eichel and Jonathan Marchessault who were both surprisingly good defensively. Their roster as a whole has proven they can beat you with their scoring while not allowing other scoring opportunities for their opponents.


Series Prediction: The Edmonton Oilers beat the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2

The Oilers proved last year that even with tougher defensive matchups and different styles of play to counter them, they can pull through. The Kings who were the perfect counter to Edmonton, couldn’t contain their star power. Vegas is going to have a tough time handling the Oilers as they did in the regular season, but they are going to make it a living hell for everyone. What mainly concerns me from both sides is the goaltending. Laurent Broissoit has been excellent for Veagas in the first round, but can he out-duel Stuart Skinner who has a much better offense in front of him? This series may come down to who scores the last goal, and if that’s the case, give me the Oilers.


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