According to Vegas Golden Knights defenceman Alex Pietrangelo, the problem with his now-suspended slash from earlier in the series against Leon Draisaitl was actually… the Edmonton Oilers?
Pietrangelo got the book for Game 5 for a vicious two-hander on Draisaitl in the closing moments of an Oilers’ Game 4 win, but he didn’t seem to be all that willing to take accountability for it.
Instead, Pietrangelo seemed to rather suggest that the Oilers had been targeting him earlier in the series — most notably, a post-whistle cross-check from Edmonton forward Evander Kane — and that he was simply retaliating to those actions.
“It’s pretty obvious what’s going on. It’s premeditated stuff I’m pretty sure coming at me. But [the NHL’s Department of Player Safety] didn’t really seem to care in the meeting,” Pietrangelo said Saturday to reporters.
In addition to Pietrangelo’s suspension, Edmonton was without defenceman Darnell Nurse for Friday’s game, who was automatically suspended for receiving an instigator penalty in the closing moments of Game 4.
“I’ll get up and take it. I’m not going to lay on the ice, like what’s going on… I’ll get up and play the game the way it needs to be played. It’s pretty obvious what’s going on. At the end of the day, we’ve got a job to do, they’ve got a job to do, and we’ve got to close it out,” he added.
Unsurprisingly, Draisaitl himself wasn’t exactly the biggest fan of the slash either.
“That’s a really, really dangerous slash,” Draisaitl told reporters about the incident. “I think those are things that have nothing to do with hockey or the game. You can seriously injure someone with a slash like that.”
Without Pietrangelo, though, the Golden Knights were still able to take a 3-2 series lead on Friday, despite a pair of goals from Edmonton captain Connor McDavid.
With the war of words seemingly done and both teams back to their full lineups — for now — Game 6 goes tonight at 8 pm MT, with the Oilers needing a victory to keep their season alive.
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