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Edmonton Oilers cruise past Vegas 5-1

The Edmonton Oilers clinched home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs with a 5-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights Wednesday night at Rogers Place.

The win assures the Oilers of finishing either first or second in the Pacific Division.

“That was a solid, complete game for us,” Corey Perry reflected post-game. “I thought tonight–playing a really good hockey team–we put all 60 minutes together and you can see what kind of team we are when we do that.”

Cody Ceci scored the only goal of the first period when he put the puck in front and had it bank in off Golden Knights defenceman Alec Martinez.

Mattias Ekholm took a cross ice pass from Ryan McLeod and unleashed a mighty slapshot to the top corner to make it 2-0 Oilers 5:38 into the second.

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“The past month, he’s been one of the best d-men in the league,” Zach Hyman said about Ekholm. “He’s been unbelievable for a while here now. He’s a guy who’s actually underrated. You talk about the best defencemen in the league and his name doesn’t come up, but two-way, you can’t ask for a better two-way defender.”

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Less than three minutes later, Hyman swiped in a rebound for his 53rd of the season.

Stuart Skinner made sure it stayed 3-0 when he turned away Anthony Mantha on a breakaway.

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Leon Draisaitl buried a one-timer on a two-man advantage 6:50 in the third. Keegan Kolesar scored on a shorthanded breakaway exactly one minute later to put Vegas on the board.

Dylan Holloway, freshly called up from the minors and playing his first NHL game since March 5, made it 5-1 Oilers when he won a race to a loose puck behind the net and spun in front to stuff it past Adin Hill.

“I don’t think the goalie saw me–I kind of got lucky. I was thinking to myself ‘there’s no way he’s leaving it’, and then it got left perfectly there for me,” Holloway said. “I was pretty excited about that one.”

“That’s his game–he’s in on the forecheck, he’s strong, he’s quick and he’s on pucks and he did that all night tonight for us,” Perry said about Holloway.

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Skinner made 19 saves.

Connor McDavid didn’t play. He’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

“We’re very optimistic that he can play Friday, but we also have to consider that we’re heading into a back-to-back,” Oilers Head Coach Kris Knoblauch remarked when asked about his captains status moving forward. “We’ll find out Friday.”

The Oilers, 48-24-5, will host the Arizona Coyotes on Friday (630 CHED, Face-off Show at 5:30 p.m., game at 7 p.m.).

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