Early surge sends Oilers to series-tying win over Knights

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Bjugstad, Evan Bouchard and Mattias Ekholm scored first-period goals and the host Edmonton Oilers claimed a 4-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday to even their Western Conference semifinal series at two wins apiece.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a goal and an assist, Connor McDavid collected two assists and goaltender Stuart Skinner made 25 saves for the Oilers.

Nicolas Roy had the lone goal for the Golden Knights. Adin Hill, who took over in the net in place of injured Laurent Brossoit, stopped 29 shots in his first career playoff start.

Game 5 in the best-of-seven series will be played Friday in Las Vegas.

Bjugstad opened the scoring at the 6:46 mark when he grabbed a loose puck behind the net and tucked home a wraparound for his third goal of the playoffs.

Bouchard doubled the lead 52 seconds later on the power play by blasting a one-timer from the point for his fourth goal of the playoffs and 13th power-play point, a franchise record for defenseman. It was Edmonton’s sixth power-play goal of the series and 15th of the playoffs.

Ekholm produced his first goal of the playoffs six minutes later. He unloaded a slap shot from the left circle to make it a 3-0 affair before the end of the opening frame.

Nugent-Hopkins also scored his first goal of the playoffs when he slipped into the slot and buried the open chance at 14:45 of the middle frame.

Roy put the Golden Knights on the board 5:58 into the third period when he gained a step on the defenders and lifted a top-corner shot for his first goal of the playoffs, but it was far too little and far too late.

With the game well out of reach in the final minutes, the bad blood evident throughout this series came to the forefront. The animosity intensified after Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo delivered a two-handed slash on Leon Draisaitl’s hand, for which he was given a major penalty and game misconduct.

Seconds later, Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse fought Nicolas Hague. Nurse was assessed an instigator penalty, which could mean a suspension.

Oilers forward Mattias Janmark returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games due to an injury sustained in the series opener.

–Field Level Media

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