Saturday, April 29, 2023 | 11:15 p.m.
It’s almost as if this had to be the matchup. It’s now official.
The Golden Knights will meet the Edmonton Oilers in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs starting next week. The Oilers defeated the Los Angeles Kings 5-4 in Game 6 on Saturday to advance to the next round.
Times and dates have will not be announced until near conclusion of the first round. There are three Game Sevens that still need to be decided — Florida/Boston and Seattle/Colorado on Sunday, and New York/New Jersey on Monday.
The Golden Knights will have home-ice advantage in this series by way of finishing atop the Western Conference with 111 points.
But Vegas needed to hold off a late Edmonton surge at the end of the regular season to ensure it gets a possible four games at T-Mobile Arena in this series. The Oilers finished with 109 points but ended the regular season on a nine-game winning streak.
The Oilers were met with a tough test in their first-round rematch against the Kings. Edmonton trailed the series 2-1 after losing Game 3 in overtime, then trailed 3-0 at the end of the first period in Game 4 before rallying to win 5-4 in overtime.
Edmonton won three straight to advance to the second round for the second straight season.
The Golden Knights went 1-2-1 against the Oilers in the regular season. The lone win came in overtime, 4-3, on March 25.
One key factor in the season series: Mark Stone played in just one of those meetings. He scored twice in the first matchup of the season on Nov. 19, but Connor McDavid scored the overtime winner in a 4-3 result.
The Golden Knights captain is coming off eight points (three goals, five assists) in Vegas’ five-game victory over the Winnipeg Jets in the first round.
This will also be the first time that McDavid and Jack Eichel will meet in a battle of the top two picks in the 2015 NHL Draft. McDavid went first overall to Edmonton, while Eichel went No. 2 to Buffalo.
Eichel had five points (three goals, two assists) in his first ever playoff series against the Jets. McDavid, who led the NHL with 153 points this season (64 goals, 89 assists), had 10 points in six games against the Kings (three goals, seven assists) with six of them coming on the power play.