Instant Reaction: Hat trick from Zach Hyman leads Oilers to commanding Game 1 victory over Kings

Edmonton Oilers Zach Hyman
Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
12 days ago
One win down, 15 to go.
The Edmonton Oilers took down the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 7-4 on Monday evening to open their first-round series with a win.
This was the first time the Edmonton Oilers won Game 1 since April 26, 2017, when they defeated the Anaheim Ducks 5-3. Before that, it was all the way back in the third round of the 2006 cup run, ironically also against Anaheim.
Edmonton scored the first goal of the game about seven minutes into the first period with a Connor McDavid zone entry. He passed across the goal to Zach Hyman, and after a bit of a scramble, the 50+ goal scorer scored Edmonton’s first goal of the playoffs. Connor McDavid and Evan Bouchard picked up the assists.
A few minutes later, Adam Henrique scored from the faceoff dot for his first goal of the playoffs. The Oilers trading for him and Sam Carrick was a good pickup, and hopefully, Henrique is brought back. Hyman and Bouchard assisted on the goal.
After a terrific save by Stuart Skinner on one end, the Oilers went down the other end and cycled it for a bit before McDavid found Hyman on the weak side for his second goal of the game. Skinner finished with a save percentage below .900, but he had a solid game.
The party kept rolling on the power play, as Leon Draisaitl made a fantastic pass to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who was all alone beside Cam Talbot. McDavid also got an assist on this play, along with Leon Draisaitl.
However, the Kings got one back near the middle of the second period. Skinner allowed a pretty awful rebound, and the puck cycled a bit more before a shot from the point beat the Oilers netminder. 
It looked as if the Kings were gaining some momentum, as they put another one past Skinner. But after some deliberation, the refs determined that Trevor Lewis batted the puck down with his hand, so no goal.
That said, the Kings actually did make it 4-2, as they won an offensive zone faceoff, circled the net, and threw the pass across the goal. Sadly, Adrian Kempe was on the other end of the pass, making it a close game once again.
Before the end of the period, the Kings destroyed any momentum they had, as Trevor Moore undercut Vincent Desharnais, picking up a penalty that carried over into the third period. This may earn a suspension from the leading Kings scorer.
The Oilers made no mistake in the third period on that power play, as Leon Draisaitl scored once again from his office for his first goal of the playoffs. You guessed it, McDavid picked up an assist on this goal.
Hyman scored a hat trick on another power play, with Bouchard and Hyman picking up the assists. I don’t need to go into great detail about this goal, you know how Hyman gets his goals. And you guessed it, Connor McDavid picked up an assist for his fifth of the game.
The Kings scored a goal late in the third period as the puck redirected off Darnell Nurse’s skate and into the back of the net to make it 6-3. Even later in the third, Cody Ceci’s stick exploded, leading to Los Angeles’ fourth goal. 
Funnily enough, Kevin Fiala’s stick also exploded on him, allowing Warren Foegele to bury a puck into the empty net. That insurance goal resulted in the Oilers skating away with a 7-4 win.

Things worth mentioning…

One Kings-related stat that was touted throughout the season was how good Los Angeles’ penalty kill was all season. There were only three times all season where they allowed two or more goals on the penalty kill, and once they allowed three goals. Interestingly, in a span of one week (from March 23 to March 30), two teams scored two or more goals.
In last year’s playoffs, Vincent Desharnais’ foot speed was exposed against the Kings and Golden Knights. However, his improvement this regular season has carried into the playoffs, as he looked absolutely terrific. The team will need to sign a few players, but Desharnais should be brought back.
Prior to his goal, Adam Henrique’s last goal came during Obama’s first term in office, or 4,333 days prior to this. The stretch between the two playoff goals is the longest in NHL history. It doesn’t help that the New Jersey Devils and the Anaheim Ducks sucked during his tenures at the two teams.
The Oilers allowed four goals, but goals three and four were just pure unlucky rather than anything they did wrong. It counts, of course, but with a 6-2 lead, it is what it is. Clean it up, and continue to win.
Connor McDavid set a career-high for most points in a single playoff game in this one with five assists. It was also the first playoff hat trick of Zach Hyman’s career, which resulted in a lot of hats being thrown on the ice.
Next up… The Oilers and Kings will be back for Game 2 on Wednesday night in Edmonton. The Oilers will look to get out to a commanding 2-0 lead in this first-round series before things shift to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4.


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