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Photo Credit: © Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Day After: Oilers extend Kings’ home playoff losing streak to six games with lopsided victory

The Los Angeles Kings returned home on Friday after an embarrassing loss in Game 2 in Edmonton looking to redeem themselves.

They came out hard and fast, trying desperately to give themselves an early lead as they had in Game 1, but Mike Smith stood tall, stopping all of the 19 shots the Kings had in the first period.

That desperate energy would wind up being their own undoing, as Brendan Lemieux took a roughing penalty to offset a penalty taken by Brett Kulak. Leon Draisaitl would score during the four-on-four to put the Oilers up 1-0. A few minutes later, Trevor Moore got dinged for a holding the stick penalty, and Zach Hyman scored on the power-play to make the score 2-0.

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Going into the first intermission down by two goals obviously dejected the Kings, because the Oilers completely took control after that. Edmonton piled on three goals in the first half of the second frame, the Kings grabbed two back before the period was over, and then the Oilers scored three more times in the third.

The star offensively for the Oilers was Evander Kane, who buried the first playoff hat-trick of his career…

This certainly wasn’t the homecoming the Kings were hoping for.

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Friday’s 8-2 loss to the Oilers extended L.A.’s playoff losing streak at home to six games. They were swept by the Vegas Golden Knights the last time they were in the playoffs back in 2018 and they lost to the Sharks in five games in 2016 with their one win coming in San Jose.

In order to find the last time the Kings won a playoff game at home, you have to go back to 2012, when Alec Martinez scored a Stanley Cup-winning goal in double-overtime against the New York Rangers.

We’ll see on Sunday if they can end this skid. The way things are going, it might be their last chance in this series.

What they said…

“The beginning of the year was very tough with a lot of different things going on in my life. It’s a real credit to my family helping me through everything. There’s been a lot of trials and tribulations and it’s nice to turn the page and start to move forward in a positive way.” – Evander Kane. 

“I’m not a big believer in momentum carry over. I think you have to re-establish things. We expected a push from them. Certainly, you know, lots of shots on net from all angles and all that kind of stuff, but I thought we displayed some perseverance and persistence and some patience to our game and struck when the time was right.

“What I take most joy out of as a coach is watching all of the people in our lineup contribute and bring that type of effort and intensity. Because it’s been quite noticeable.” – Jay Woodcroft. 

“It takes everybody. Just finding ways to win games, that’s all that matters this time of year. Doesn’t really matter how it looks or what happens. I think we’ve done a good job of playing well, playing hard, we’ve been physical. They kind of pushed back today and I thought we responded well.” – Connor McDavid. 

“We have to regroup and luckily it’s only 2-1 in the series. We need to regroup and step up next game. We have to look at it as 2-1, you don’t want to dwell on all of the goals. We didn’t play well at all and we have to work harder and be better, everyone. We have to step up. No matter how many young guys we have, no matter how many veterans, we have to step up together and be better.” – Philip Danault. 

“It’s always a challenge when you play against players like that. They’re elite players and if you give them time and space they’ll make you pay.” – Alex Edler. 

Worth mentioning… 

  • This was a huge win for the Oilers because teams that go up 2-1 in a seven-game series historically wind up winning that series 70 percent of the time. The Oilers also needed to grab a win in Los Angeles after dropping Game 1 at home in Edmonton and now they’ve done that.
  • Edmonton’s explosion offensively has been incredible to witness. Since dropping Game 1, they’ve outscored the Kings 14-2. During their sweep to the Winnipeg Jets last year, they scored just eight goals in four games.
  • The top trio of Connor McDavid, Evander Kane, and Jesse Puljujarvi had a dominant night against the Kings on Friday. In 11:09 at even-strength, they dominated L.A. 30-to-15 in terms of shot attempts and 7-to-1 in terms of high-danger scoring chances. Kane scored three goals, McDavid picked up two assists, and Puljujarvi had one assist. The ice appeared tilted whenever this line was playing. The Kings just had no answer for them, which is really saying something given their 1-2 punch down the middle of Anze Kopitar and Philip Danault are both excellent shutdown centres. In 6:13 when McDavid and Kopitar were on the ice against each other, the Oilers went 22-to-5 in terms of shot attempts.
  • Since making that errant pass late in the third period of Game 1, Mike Smith has been an absolute rock for the Oilers, stopping 74 of 76 shots for a .974 save percentage in Games 2 and 3.