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3 takeaways from Knights’ win: Goaltender shines in relief

Updated May 8, 2023 - 9:59 pm

Adin Hill shook his glove and blocker in celebration on the Rogers Place ice before receiving congratulations from his teammates.

Four goaltenders played in Game 3 between the Golden Knights and Edmonton Oilers on Monday. Only one put in a near flawless performance.

Hill entered in an emergency when Laurent Brossoit suffered a lower-body injury in the first period and emerged with the first playoff win of his career. He stopped all 25 shots he faced in relief in the Knights’ 5-1 win that gave them a 2-1 lead in their second-round series.

The Oilers’ goaltending swap was more of their own making. Rookie Stuart Skinner was pulled in the second period in the face of overwhelming pressure, and putting in Jack Campbell didn’t stem the tide.

The result was the 44th playoff win in Knights history. Only Tampa Bay has more in the past six seasons.

“It’s really tough when one of your teammates go down like that, but you have to just flip the switch and start to play,” Hill said. “We had a job to do, and the guys stepped up.”

Brossoit’s injury felt as if it could be a turning point in the series.

The 30-year-old was hurt moving to his right with 8:16 left in the first period after making a save on Edmonton captain Connor McDavid. He needed to be helped off the ice by captain Mark Stone and defenseman Alec Martinez.

The loss of Brossoit, who was 7-0-3 in the regular season and is 5-2 in the playoffs, could have been devastating for the Knights. Instead, as they have all season, they fought through the adversity in a dominant performance.

The game was tied 1-1 when Brossoit was hurt. The Knights, fueled by a ferocious forecheck, scored the next four goals to turn the game into a rout.

Left wing Jonathan Marchessault put them up 2-1 by scoring his second goal with 51 seconds left in the first period. Defenseman Zach Whitecloud and Jack Eichel then scored in the second to chase Skinner from the net. The 24-year-old, who gave up four goals on 23 shots, was pulled for the second time in nine starts in the postseason.

Center Chandler Stephenson added on after Campbell came into the game. His sixth goal of the playoffs, tied for the third-most in the NHL, put the Knights ahead 5-1 only 17 seconds after an Oilers goaltender interference challenge took a Nicolas Roy tally off the board.

Hill made sure the lead was never threatened. The 26-year-old was calm and cool despite coming in off the fly. Hill, who played the third period in Game 2 for his first playoff appearance, became the fifth NHL goaltender to earn his first playoff win in relief while playing at least 45 minutes and allowing zero goals against.

“Gutsy performance by (Hill),” Eichel said. “That’s not an easy thing to do.”

Hill’s sharp play led to a quiet night for Edmonton’s top-ranked offense.

The Knights’ puck possession kept the game at five-on-five, where they were in control. The Oilers’ historic power play — which was 5-for-9 in the first two games — got only 47 seconds of ice time in the first two periods.

The limited time on the man advantage kept Edmonton superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl off the scoresheet for the first time in the series. Draisaitl didn’t record a point for the first time in nine playoff games.

That gives the Knights the edge in the series. Teams that win Game 3 when entering tied 1-1 advance 66.2 percent of the time. The Knights are 5-1 when up 2-1 in a series.

“You have to try and limit their weapons, and obviously discipline’s a factor for sure, right?” Whitecloud said. “We did a good job in that area. We stuck to our strengths. Played the right way. And we stuck together out there.”

Here are three takeaways from the win:

1. Marchessault steps up

Marchessault, the Knights’ leader in goals each of the past two seasons, couldn’t break through in the first seven games of the postseason.

He had no such issues Monday. Marchessault recorded his fifth multigoal game in the playoffs, the most in franchise history.

He has 50 points in 75 playoff games with the Knights. The only players with more are left wing Reilly Smith (57) and center William Karlsson (52).

2. Eichel excels

Eichel, selected one pick after McDavid at No. 2 overall in the 2015 NHL draft, put on a show in the Oilers’ building.

The 26-year-old finished with a goal and two assists for his second three-point game of the playoffs. That’s tied for the most in franchise history during a single postseason with Stone and Marchessault.

Eichel has 10 points through his first eight playoff games. Only five active players reached 10 points in the postseason faster: Nathan MacKinnon, Tyler Bertuzzi, Jake Guentzel, Evgeni Malkin and Eric Staal.

3. Road warriors

The Knights improved to 3-0 on the road in the postseason.

They’ve been comfortable away from home all season. Their 60 road points during the regular season were tied for the second-most in the NHL with New Jersey.

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

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