GDB +4.0: Oilers with a chance to take a commanding 3-1 series lead (8:30pm MT, CBC)

Connor McDavid goal celebration
Photo credit:Yannick Peterhans-USA TODAY Sports
6 days ago
There are four of us from Nation HQ amongst a legion of blue and orange down here in Los Angeles for Game 4 of the first-round series between the Oilers and Kings, and we’re all looking for a big win to put the boys up 3-1 in the series.
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As for being annoying to play against/watch/report on, the Los Angeles Kings are everything we expected them to be and then some. They come as advertised. They’re boring, they’re opportunistic, and they’ll stick ya somewhere awful if given the chance. This series has been a battle in every possible way, and what happens in Game 4 will be huge for the rest of this series.
Through the first three games so far, the Oilers have done a great job of pushing the pace and executing offensively, but they’ve also been caught by costly errors when they’ve tried to force plays that weren’t there. The Kings need Edmonton to make mistakes if they’re going to convert their Venus flytrap defensive strategy into offence, and so far, the boys have been incredibly effective against the trap.
Even though we’ve seen this head-to-head for the last three years, the Kings are also still surprising us with new lows due to their increased rat behaviour. The Kings have plenty of good players throughout their lineup, but most would agree that the Oilers have the advantage, so the way they tend to even the playing field is by being shit disturbers and doing whatever they can to get guys off their game. It’s the only chance they’ve got to hang with us.
I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a few playoff games down here—check out the travel diaries while we’re down here, by the way—and one thing I can tell you is that Kings fans can be a rowdy bunch. It’s not exactly uncommon to get told off just for wearing an Oilers jersey, and that vibe carries over in a big way when things get spicy on the ice.
If the Oilers can get something on the board early and silence the crowd, the Kings will be forced to open up and get out of their comfort zone. The last thing that the home side wants is a run-and-gun marathon with the Oilers, so finding a way to grab an early lead will be key to getting out of here with another huge road win.
The biggest question I have for Game 4 is whether or not the Oilers learned their lesson after what happened in Game 2. The Oilers basically had one really tough period that sunk the whole night. That can’t happen again. Instead, the boys need to do exactly as they did in games 1 and 3: put the pedal to the floor and don’t take it off until the Kings are buried. All gas, no brakes. When the Oilers are at their best, the Kings can’t hang with them at all, but that has to happen for all 60 minutes and not just a period or two.
Our boys have a fantastic chance to put the Kings in a 3-1 hole that will be incredibly difficult to climb out from, and I’m betting with my heart and my cash that they’re going to make it happen.
Let’s see what the numbers say…


POWER PLAY%50.00.0
PENALTY KILL%100.050.0
AVG. SHOTS/FOR38.730.3
TEAM SAVE%0.861.885
CORSI FOR%47.2552.75
TEAM SHOOTING%11.5413.89
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)
  • Connor McDavid leads all active Oilers in career playoff scoring against the Kings with 30 points (7G, 23A) in 15 games. Looking back at the last two series, the captain had 10 points (3G, 7A) in 2023 and 14 points (4G, 10A) in 2022.
  • Evander Kane picked up a Gordie Howe hat trick on Friday night, which also happened to be his 11th career post-season multi-point game. Kane’s Gordie Howe hat trick was also the first by an Oiler since Craig MacTavish did it all the way back in 1986.
  • My man Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had three assists 11th career post-season multi-point game, 5th career post-season 3-point game and 3rd career post-season three-assist game. has recorded at least a point in the last four Game 4s he’s played in (4G, 2A).
  • Corey Perry will be playing in his 200th playoff game, which is the most amongst active NHL players. Over the first 199 of those games, Perry amassed 124 points (53G, 71A) and is one of only six players in league history to have at least five post-season overtime goals, only Joe Sakic (8) and Maurice Richard (6) have more. In tonight’s game, he will become just the 22nd player in NHL history to play in 200 career post-season games.



Oilers ***UPDATED***

Henrique – McDavid – Hyman
RNH – Draisaitl – Kane
Foegele – McLeod – Perry
Holloway – Ryan – Janmark
Ekholm – Bouchard
Nurse – Ceci
Kulak – Desharnais
I love everything about the way the Oilers played on Friday night, and I was expecting that Kris Knoblauch will keep the same group together, but it looks like Derek Ryan will be drawing in for Sam Carrick. That said, it was interesting to see the line blender come out to give a different look every now and then.


Laferriere – Kopitar – Kempe
Moore – Danault – Arvidsson
Fiala – Dubois – Byfield
Grundstrom – Lizotte – Lewis
Anderson– Doughty
Gavrikov – Roy
Englund – Spence
After getting stomped on Friday night, the Kings are going to be a very hungry hockey club. I think they’re going to come out hard early, and I also think that means our boys will need to weather an early storm. If they can navigate that early pressure, I have no doubts that we’ll be in great shape going forward. According to the Kings’ morning skate, it looks like David Rittich will be getting the start in favour of Cam Talbot, and I think the mandate for our boys should be to fire from the parking lot.


From LA Kings Insider:
Speaking after last night’s game, Fiala was disappointed in the power play, but did not lack confidence that the Kings could turn the ship around, and turn it around quickly.
“I’m not worried, to be honest,” Fiala said. “Obviously it’s not been good these three games, but we are a good power play, we are good players and we are going to figure it out. I think the last three games now, we haven’t been connected, usually we see each other almost blindly and puck movement is way faster than it is right now. I’m not worried, we’re for sure going to figure it out.”
That’s the type of proactive mindset the Kings need to turn things around. Because, if you can remain confident in what you’re doing, you’re more likely to do it the right way. If you’re confident, you’ll eventually get one and the hope is that once you get one, it leads to more. I hate to do it, but let’s throw out the old Teemu Selanne ketchup bottle reference. If you remain confident and do the right things, if you keep hitting the top of the ketchup bottle, eventually the ketchup flows out and it flows out in blobs. That’s where the Kings are at right now as it pertains to the man advantage.
“When you score, you definitely get that confidence and then it’s just coming naturally,” Kempe added. “We faced them a lot of times, we’ve faced these kind of PK’s before and I think it’s just about getting the first one and then after that, I think we’ll be fine.”


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
Game Day Prediction: The Oilers lock up Game 4 with a convincing 4-2 win.
Obvious Game Day Prediction: Leon Draisaitl picks up another multi-point game as his ascent into playoff God-mode continues with each passing shift.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Ryan McLeod picks up the game winner. He’s been flying around the ice all series, and he comes through with a big moment in Game 4.

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