Golden Knights bow out of Pacific Division race with Oilers loss

Vegas Golden Knights goalie Logan Thompson (36) looks on as Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97 ...

Golden Knights at Oilers

Oilers win 4-0

RJ’s three stars

3. Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse — He had an assist and played a strong defensive game despite being matched up with left wing Max Pacioretty, center Chandler Stephenson and right wing Mark Stone for most of his five-on-five ice time.

2. Oilers defenseman Cody Ceci — He scored Edmonton’s second goal while leading the team in time on ice with 22:40. He also played 3:39 on the Oilers’ penalty kill, which was a perfect 3-for-3.

1. Oilers goaltender Mike Smith — The 40-year-old made 39 saves for his fifth straight win and second straight shutout. He is the first goaltender to post back-t0-back shutouts past his 40th birthday since Martin Brodeur did so Nov. 7 and 10, 2013.

Key play

Left wing Warren Foegele’s third-period goal.

The Knights started to push for offense once Ceci put them down 2-0 just 35 seconds into their final frame. The Oilers took advantage to extend their lead going the other way.

Defenseman Alec Martinez tried to make a pass at the offensive blue line that Foegele intercepted. The Oiler raced past Martinez heading down the ice to go in alone on rookie goaltender Logan Thompson, who was making his second straight start.

Thompson attempted to poke-check the puck away, but Foegele shifted it to his backhand and lifted it into the net for his 12th goal of the season. The play all but extinguished the Knights’ hopes 5:16 into the third period.

Key stat

0 — The number of points Edmonton centers Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl had Saturday.

The Knights did well to limit the Oilers’ superstar duo. It was the third straight game they held McDavid, the NHL’s leading scorer with 110 points, and Draisaitl, who is second in the league in goals (54) and third in points (105), off the scoresheet.

It hasn’t done much good. The Knights fell to 1-2 in those three games. They finished their season series with the Oilers 1-3.

Knights out of division race

The Knights will not win the Pacific Division in 2022.

The news, while expected, became official Saturday after their loss to the Oilers. The Knights trail the Calgary Flames by 12 points in the standings with six regular-season games to go. The Flames have a 40-33 edge in the regulation wins tiebreaker.

The Knights won the Pacific their first and third seasons. They finished tied with Colorado for first in the West Division in 2021, but lost the regulation wins tiebreaker.

The worst the Knights have ever finished in their division is third in 2018-19. They were fourth in the Pacific after Saturday’s loss, before third-place Los Angeles played Columbus.

Knights quotable

“Obviously a disappointing game. … We just made some mistakes and started giving them grade-A opportunities. But we’ve got six games remaining. I don’t know how many we’re going to have to win, but it starts on Monday night (against New Jersey). We’ve got to get that one.” — Stone

Knights’ last six

Vs. New Jersey, 7 p.m. Monday

Vs. Washington, 7 p.m. Wednesday

Vs. San Jose, 7 p.m. April 24

At Dallas, 5:30 p.m. April 26

At Chicago, 5:30 p.m. April 27

At St. Louis, 5 p.m. April 29

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

Ben Gotz Review-Journal