Pouring It On
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
1 month ago
It took five games, but the Edmonton Oilers finally leaned on the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday in a display that was equal parts will and skill in a 6-3 win for a 3-2 series lead with a chance to close the deal against the Kings in Tinseltown Saturday.
Tuesday was a continuation of Sunday, when the Oilers stormed back from a 3-0 deficit after 20 minutes on the way to a 5-4 OT win to even the series 2-2. Until then, they’d been slowed up by a lack of discipline and frustrated by Los Angeles stopper Joonas Korpisalo. We didn’t see any of that last night as the Oilers looked like the team that was picked by many to handle the Kings in five games.
They solved Korpisalo Sunday and chased him last night in favor of Pheonix Copley with four goals on 19 shots. After a parade to the penalty box in the first four games, the Oilers put the Kings on the power play just once, a series-low, while staying red-hot with a man advantage themselves, going two-for-three.
Along the way, Leon Draisaitl kept his roll going with the 2-0 goal and his 10th point of the post-season. Nick Bjugstad, elevated in the line-up, enjoyed the first two-goal playoff game of his career and scored the eventual winner on a deflection. We saw Zach Hyman take one in the teeth to make it 5-2 when Evan Bouchard banked a one-timer off his jaw into the net. It was fist-bumps at the bench with one hand, holding his face with the other.
The Oilers are pouring it on. Can the Kings stay with them?
WHAT THEY SAY
Apr 25, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Zach Hyman (18) plays for the puck in front of Los Angeles Kings goaltender Joonas Korpisalo (70) during the first periodin game five of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
“You’ve got to get to that area, right?” said Hyman, who somehow wasn’t cut and didn’t lose any teeth on Bouchard’s slapper in the yap. “You get to that spot, pucks hit you, you find rebounds and score dirty goals. That’s the way you score in playoffs.
“Happened too quick, to be honest. Luckily, Bouch didn’t get all of it. If he got all of it, it probably wouldn’t have gone where it went. I’ll take that trade-off any day for a goal . . . you get a pretty goal here and there, but a lot of it is going to those tough areas, finding loose change, or I guess hitting you in the face and going in.”
Stuart Skinner, pulled after 20 minutes Sunday for Jack Campbell, who may have turned this series in relief with 27 saves on 28 shots, was back in the crease last night. Skinner was OK, as good as he had to be. Evander Kane opened the scoring and has goals in two straight games despite obviously being nicked up. Hyman now has goals in two consecutive games after a quiet start to the series.
“That’s why we’re a good team, because we have so many guys that can put the puck in the net and create chances and goals for us,” Draisaitl said. “It’s great seeing those guys get on the board and just keep going.”
THE BOTTOM LINE
“We’ve got one more game to close it out,” Hyman said. “We’re in a good spot. We put ourselves in a good spot.”
For all the angst that gripped the fanbase at points early in the series, and there was plenty of it online and on the radio call-in shows – and any doubt that might have found its way into the dressing room – the Oilers are headed to Los Angeles as frontrunners for the first time in the series. I don’t see them looking back now.
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