EDMONTON, Alberta — The Golden Knights finish their three-game road trip Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place.
Opening faceoff is 7 p.m. Pacific time and the game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain.
The Knights are coming off a 4-3 victory at Vancouver on Thursday and carry a five-game win streak into the key Pacific Divison matchup. They have outscored opponents 23-8 over that span.
“We’ve played well. The team’s starting to play together the way we expected,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “Nate Schmidt was a big return for us, obviously, and got our (defense) pairs back together. I like the way we’re playing. I hope we continue.”
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will make his sixth consecutive start. He is 5-0 with a 1.58 goals-against average and a .954 save percentage since Nov. 21.
The rest of the lineup remains unchanged, Gallant said.
“We’ve been trying to do a lot more of closing things out lately. And when you get into games, you don’t want to give up leads and you get on road trips, you want to make sure you do it the right way to finish,” Schmidt said. “We were happy getting two out of three on the last road trip, but now you have a chance to (go 3-0), you’ve got to make the most of it. These points are huge when it comes to the end of the year.”
Edmonton has undergone major changes since the Knights’ 6-3 victory here Nov. 18.
Coach Ken Hitchcock was coaxed out of retirement when Todd McLellan was fired two days after that loss, and the Oilers have gone 3-1-1 since to move within three points of a playoff spot.
Mikko Koskinen (7-2-1, 2.26 goals-against average, .924 save percentage) appears to have supplanted Cam Talbot as Edmonton’s No. 1 goaltender and is expected to make his third consecutive start.
Koskinen is 4-0 with a 1.08 GAA and .965 save percentage at home.
The Oilers defeated Los Angeles 3-2 on Thursday, as defenseman Oscar Klefbom bagged his second straight game-winning goal.
Connor McDavid leads Edmonton with 34 points (13 goals, 21 assists). Ty Rattie is expected to draw back into the Oilers’ lineup on the fourth line after sitting out the past two games.
“They’re rebounding a little bit here, so it should be a real good game,” Gallant said. “Obviously you worry about their top players. McDavid and (Leon) Draisaitl and those guys, (Ryan) Nugent-Hopkins. They’re real good hockey players, but they’re playing more together as a team and playing hard and working hard.”
Golden Knights projected lineup
Jonathan Marchessault-William Karlsson-Reilly Smith
Max Pacioretty-Cody Eakin-Alex Tuch
Daniel Carr-Tomas Nosek-Ryan Carpenter
William Carrier-Pierre-Edouard Bellemare-Ryan Reaves
Brayden McNabb-Nate Schmidt
Shea Theodore-Deryk Engelland
Nick Holden-Colin Miller