The Stanley Cup Playoffs often become a battle of attrition, especially if you get to rounds three and four. It becomes a mental battle, and playing an extra game in round one might not seem like much now, but it can become a factor later in the playoffs.
The Edmonton Oilers didn’t match the intensity, desperation and execution of the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 and it cost them an opportunity to wrap up the series in five games. Now the series will be at least six games, possibly seven, and their game four loss will be a good lesson for future playoff runs.
Don’t waste a chance to shorten a series.
— The loss means Edmonton has two more flights, one more game, possibly two, and fewer days off before the next series. Those extra days of rest can be a big advantage later on, and this is a lesson they will learn from for future series.
— Edmonton can’t change the results of game four, but the players need to ensure they match the Kings’ level of play tonight. The Oilers dominated games two and three, while game one was very competitive, so they’ve proven they can control the series when they play up to their potential. The Kings controlled much of game four.
— Leon Draisaitl’s line had a tough night in Game 4. In 8:11 at 5×5 the shot attempts were 15-6 in favour of LA, shots on goals were 7-1 and they allowed a goal. Their xGF% was 11.8%. Much of that was against the Phil Danault line. Draisaitl had a rare awful night in the faceoff circle. He went 5-14. He was 4-6 v. Danault and 1-8 v. Anze Kopitar. He lost all three faceoffs v. Kopitar on the PP and the Oilers’ PP struggled from never having possession off the faceoff. Ryan McLeod was also 0-for-3 on the PP.
— Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ line with Derrick Brassard and Josh Archibald also had a tough go. They only played 3:04 together, but shot attempts were 8-1 against and shots on goal were 7-0. It was a small sample, but it was a tough night for that trio. I wonder if we see Devin Shore get a game. Brassard only took two faceoffs and lost them both, so Woodcroft might give Shore his first taste of the playoffs.
— Evander Kane had another strong game with five shots on goal, including four at 5×5. Kane is tied for the NHL playoff lead with five goals and tied for fifth in points with six. Kane is tied with Jake Guentzel for the NHL lead in 5×5 goals (4), is second in 5×5 shots (18) and third in hits (20). He has been a force in the playoffs. He’s found good chemistry with Connor McDavid, but he isn’t relying solely on McDavid to score. McDavid has only assisted on one of Kane’s goals at 5×5.
— Zack Kassian is eighth in the NHL in hits with 18 at 5×5. In limited minutes he’s made his presence felt physically. He’s been very engaged on home ice, 12 hits, and they need him to bring that same exuberance in a crucial game five.
— The Oilers are 20-14 all-time in game fives. They are 11-4 on home ice and 3-1 at home when the series is tied 2-2.
The Kings are 17-16 all-time in game fives. They are 11-14 on the road, but they are 6-4 in game five on the road when the series is tied 2-2.
— Scoring first has been huge in this series. Teams have scored first are 4-0, and each game we’ve seen at least a 2-0 lead.
LA lead 2-0 in the first 16 minutes of game one. Edmonton did tie the game at two, and again at three, but lost.
Game two had a scoreless first period, before Edmonton scored three in the second frame and another three in the third.
In Game 3, Edmonton had a 2-0 lead 6:07 into the first period, and led 5-0 at 29:51 of the game.
Game four saw the Kings lead 2-0 at the 14:03 mark of the first. They added two goals in the third for a 4-0 win.
— Scoring first has been a big advantage across the NHL. Teams that score first are 26-6. The Hurricanes and Rangers have lost twice when scoring first, while the Panthers and Capitals have each lost once.
— The Oilers and Kings have each had 33 giveaways in the series and both have 17 at home and 16 on the road. One area Edmonton has a clear advantage has been in takeaways on home ice. They had 26 in games one and two. They only had four on the road. LA has had 14 on the road and eight at home. The two blowout games in LA likely played a factor in the lower takeaways.
— The Oilers have had excellent production from their blueline with 1-12-13 in four games. Only Colorado has more. The Kings have 1-3-4 from their backend. Edmonton has controlled the play when their D-men are moving the puck quickly and efficiently.
— Two stats that have really stood out when each team is victorious:
In the two LA wins the scoring chances off the rush are 12-4 for LA and odd-man rushes were 16-3.
In Edmonton’s wins they led in scoring chances off the rush 19-8 and odd man rushes were 10-7.
— When Edmonton is generating off the rush they have dominated the Kings. It starts with good, quick, accurate passes out of the zone and allows the Oilers to gain speed through the neutral zone. When Edmonton is moving the puck quickly the Kings can’t get in their 1-3-1 defensive structure and it allows the Oilers to attack more. It starts with more puck possession, and quick puck movement.
THE GAME 5 WATCH PARTY
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