G3+ Game Notes: Can the Oilers Counter Punch?

Edmonton Oilers LA Kings
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
8 days ago
The Edmonton Oilers came out swinging in Game 1 and dominated the first period, and eventually the entire game. In Game 2, the LA Kings took the early lead, and never trailed in the game before winning in overtime. Will Edmonton respond tonight or will LA win consecutive games for only the second time during this three-year playoff battle?
— The only time the Kings won consecutive playoff games over the Oilers was in games four and five in 2022. The Oilers won Games 2 and 3 and Games 6 and 7 in 2022, and they won Games 4, 5, and 6 last year. The Oilers have been better than the Kings at rebounding after a loss, and they will need to continue that trend tonight.
— Edmonton wasn’t as connected, their passes weren’t as crisp or accurate, and their top three lines only scored one goal 5×5, yet they still found a way to get the game to overtime. The Kings have only had one convincing victory in the first 15 games of this three-year series. They won 4-0 in game four in 2022. Philip Danault scored with 5:11 remaining in game one of 2022, and their other four victories came in overtime. Five of their six victories were by one goal.
— Meanwhile the Oilers have won nine times, and four have been blowouts by scores of 8-2, 6-0, 7-4 and 6-3. In the Oilers’ nine wins they’ve outscored LA 47-21. They’ve scored four or more goals in eight of their nine victories. They won game seven in 2022 by a score of 2-0. The Kings have struggled slowing down the Oilers’ offence, especially the power play.
— The first goal has been massive between these two teams. The Oilers are 8-1 when they score first and LA is 5-1. The only Kings-score-first game the Oilers won was when Zach Hyman scored the overtime winner in Game 4 in 2023. And the stats aren’t much different when leading after the first period. The Oilers are 6-1 and LA is 5-1. The Oilers are 2-0 in the only two games that were tied after the first period.
— The Oilers need to slow down the Adrian Kempe, Anze Kopitar, Quinton Byfield trio at 5×5. They’ve only skated 13:04 together, but they’ve outscored the Oilers 4-0 in those minutes. Kopitar and Kempe haven’t scored a goal with Byfield off their line. Byfield has played 13:34 with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kevin Fiala and they’ve outscored the Oilers 2-0. With Byfield on the ice the Kings have outscored the Oilers 6-0 at 5×5. With him off the ice the Oilers have outscored LA 6-3.
— Kris Knoblauch should look at getting Ryan McLeod’s line out against whichever line Byfield is playing on. Byfield has played the most minutes v. McLeod (12:42) and McLeod has outshot him 10-4 and has a 74.18xGF%. Byfield has outscored him 1-0, but McLeod has controlled the play when he’s on the ice. The Oilers’ top-two lines and defence pairs have struggled v. Byfield, although some of the goals were a tad lucky.
The Byfield-Kopitar-Kempe line scored the first two goals against Draisaitl’s line on Wednesday. The first one was self-inflicted with Evan Bouchard making an errant pass, while Draisaitl and Foegele didn’t give him a great outlet, and Cody Ceci changed before ensuring the puck was out of the zone. The second Kempe goal was more of a skilled hand-eye play by Kempe than a major breakdown. But in two games, the Kings have heavily outshot that line with Byfield on the ice.
— We know the Kings will want Philip Danault out against the McDavid line, and McDavid dominated that matchup in Game 1, so the Draisaitl and Mcleod lines will be facing Kopitar and Pierre Luc-Dubois tonight. Whichever line Byfield is on, the Oilers will need to be very aware of. His presence and size have been a problem for the Oilers thus far.
— After a productive Game 1 McDavid’s line had a very quiet Game 2 at 5×5. Adam Henrique had one shot on goal, while McDavid and Hyman had none. They need to be more engaged and hungry tonight.
— Ryan McLeod hasn’t given up much 5×5, but he also hasn’t generated much himself. He has no shots on goal at 5×5 through two games. His only shot on goal in the series was his short-handed breakaway in Game 2. His line has played well, and he’s helped out on the cycle with Evander Kane and Corey Perry, but McLeod needs to drive to the net now and again. Kane leads the Oilers with 10 shots on goal at 5×5, while Perry has two and McLeod none. They’ve haven’t given up much defensively, and they’ve been around the net a lot, they just need to bury one of their chances.
— I’d expect the same lineup tonight for both teams. The Kings didn’t make any lineup changes after losing Game 1 and I see no reason why the Oilers would after losing game two. Dylan Holloway and Mattias Janmark have found some unexpected chemistry together. Holloway has two goals on two shots in the series. They’ve outshot the Kings 9-8 at 5×5, and Knoblauch hasn’t tried to shelter them. Holloway has skated 6:39 against Blake Lizotte, 5:39 against Dubois, 3:52 v. Kopitar and 3:46 v. Danault.  While Janmark has logged 6:58 v. Lizotte, 4:43 v. Dubois, 3:30 v. Kopitar and 2:55 v. Danault. Holloway (2:57) and Janmark (2:28) have played a few shifts with Leon Draisaitl. Both wingers have played well.


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