The Vegas Knights are coming off of two straight losses, and will now be looking to take on the Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton who remains undefeated through four games, is now going to be taking on the Knights. How will the Knights fare though?
The Vegas Knights have not looked good the last two games, and now they will be looking to take on one of the hottest teams in hockey. Obviously, based upon how that sounds, you can probably infer that it’s not great. However, the level of talent that the Knights have on their roster, and the simple idea that the Oilers have to cool off, can they compete? Or will it be a blowout? We’ll let’s take a look at it.
Looking at divisional games, they are generally going to be the hardest fought, thought not guaranteed. No one wants to lose to the team that will keep them out of the playoffs, and that goes for both sides of the matchup. Now if you look at the roster breakdown between the Knights and the Oilers, it seems a bit unfair. Injuries have created a blight to the organization, that is going to hold the team back for at least a week or two. However, as a reputable organization, they should be able to overcome the adversity and continue to win. Unfortunately, the Oilers have one guy that causes chaos no matter he faces: Connor McDavid. So what can the Knights bring to help them defeat the Oilers?
How they can defeat the Oilers
The Knights will likely be trying to play a defensive minded game, well at least to start the game. When it comes to facing a high profiled offensive team like the Oilers, you have to find a way to neutralize their efforts; The best way to do that is play a strong defensive minded game. The Knights are going to have to take away the angles that lead to the puck being on McDavid, or Drasaitl’s stick. That’s where most of the Oilers efforts come from. Now it goes without saying that the Knights are going to need to eventually press in the neutral zone in order to try and create some offense, but if McDavid gets the breakaway, the puck will be in the net. So when will they look to attack?
So in order to ensure safety, you can’t let the Oilers create space. So with that being said, that means that they will be looking to create takeaways from passing attempts. Pressing in the neutral zone, and zone in the defensive zone. With the scheme likely being zone in the defensive zone, I expect them to look at running a 1-2-2. With a 1-2-2 they can look at making breakout passes to the wings and possible breakaways as they split the defenseman.
Following a game-plan is going to be harder to do when facing the unmatchable speed of McDavid, but if they can stay calm through pressure, they could find themselves in a much better situation.