The Vegas Golden Knights won Game 1 in a 6-4 high score affair against the Edmonton Oilers, doing a great job of responding quickly whenever it looked like the Oilers had momentum in the game. to keep them away.
The one thing the Golden Knights haven’t slowed down is the Oilers’ power play. They remained somewhat disciplined and only took three penalties, but the Oilers still scored on two of those power plays, showing the hockey world that it’s hard to quit.
But what makes it so dangerous? Cape Breton Eagles coach Jon Goyens joined Frank Seravalli and Colby Cohen on Daily Faceoff Live to break down the Oilers’ power play strategy and explain why it’s hard to slow down.
Jon Goyens: Especially now with Evan Bouchard with the downhill one-timer, if you don’t have anyone in front of him when the puck is under the hash marks, it just opens up the whole zone, and he has a big shot. You saw it on one of the goals yesterday where Draisaitl snuck into the net.
But you watch a lot of these types of plays, they want to pass the seam, but when Connor McDavid comes out exploding from behind the net, they do this little cycle play. Nugent-Hopkins, who wasn’t in the bumper, now he is, and now they get two guys’ attention on McDavid, and it opens up the sewing pass. So everyone says all they have to do is cut the sewing pass is that they do those little things that you yearn to be attracted to. Even here [on the Oilers 2-0 goal in Game 2 against Los Angeles]LA Kings F2, all he has to do is hold that spot, that key intersection and cut it, but that’s easier said than done.
Here [on the Oilers 1-0 goal in Game 1 against Vegas], everyone wonders why everyone is rushing up. At any time, McDavid can find Hyman up front. He does such a good job checking guys with his back and being available that you have to crumble, you have to respect that, and then they get Nugent-Hopkins to leave, that pulls Chandler Stephenson out of position, and you see Nuge just even lifts his foot for this East-West pass.
They don’t handle the pucks too much. The guy with the most puck on his stick is going to be McDavid, but you see they run you up, down, around, and now they’ve brought that element since Tyson Barrie left with Evan Bouchard in heavy bombs. And again, he doesn’t abuse it too much. So this little game [on the Oilers 5-2 goal in Game 5 against Los Angeles]Draisaitl likes to cross and just get guys out of the way, opening the center clock from almost the top of the slot.
Once again, back to Evan Bouchard [on the Oilers 3-3 goal in Game 1 against Vegas, he slings pucks East-West, he doesn’t walk with them, and you can see McDavid playing a little hide-and-go-seek behind the net, everybody’s got to respect what’s going on in front because of Hyman, and what does Bouchard do? He slides and he’s virtually on the top of that home plate area and just letting bombs fly. Here’s that cycle play again [on the Oilers 3-3 goal in Game 4 against Los Angeles], again, he’ll just throw it. There’s no bumper, no traditional 1-3-1 bumper, but again what Draisaitl does is he goes and finds space. He sucks you into areas, Nugent-Hopkins delivers pucks as well as anyone else on this team.
Then when you think you’ve figured them out, you have to face the fact that Connor McDavid wants to shoot the puck too, and he can shoot it through you. On that one [on the Oilers 1-1 goal in Game 3 against Los Angeles]he shoots and shoots through the defender, and on that next [the 2-1 goal in Game 3 against Los Angeles]you think the goalkeeper has to worry about the near post, well the reality is he shoots it through Doughty upstairs, and you have to go mano a mano against one of the best players in the world that we have seen over the past 20 years.
So as predictable as it is in terms of movement, little disappointments, little plays with a guy like Hyman in front coming out of guys, they’re not one of the teams that have one of the most deflected goals on the game of power, not even close. However, he does those little things that open seams and sometimes the fact that they don’t have bumpers puts teams off because most teams are playing the same type of power play these days.
You can watch the full episode here…