Instant Reaction: Oilers shut Kings out and grab 3-1 series lead

Edmonton Oilers L.A. Kings
Photo credit:© Yannick Peterhans-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
5 days ago
The Edmonton Oilers are just one win away from an appearance in the second round for the third consecutive season, as they defeated the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 1-0 in Game 4 on Sunday.
The lone goal of the game came on Edmonton’s lone power play, as there was some good puck movement to set up an Evan Bouchard shot, beating Dave Rittich for the 1-0 lead midway through the second.
In total, the Oilers had just 11 shots compared to the Kings’ 33 shots on net. However, it is worth mentioning that despite heavily outshooting the Oilers, Edmonton didn’t allow a shot to hit Stuart Skinner for the remaining six minutes and 33 seconds of this game.
Speaking of Skinner, he was terrific, wasn’t he? In Game 2, he allowed five goals on 26 shots, now, not all of these were his fault, but with the Oilers scoring four goals, you’d expect them to win the game. In Game 4, Skinner saved all 33 shots he faced. This was his first shutout in the playoffs.
Did the Oilers deserve to win that game? While the shots may say otherwise, I thought it was a fantastic defensive performance, with not a ton of high-danger opportunities for the Kings. I never thought Edmonton would crumble and panic, and I was proven right.
There were also some fairly sizable hits in this game. Zach Hyman was laid out with a pretty big hit. This one was by Drew Doughty, but Hyman was all-right and stayed in the game.
Evander Kane’s plan is simple: if he is on the ice with Drew Doughty, he becomes a heat-seeking missile and hits Doughty with all he’s got. It happened in the final regular season game between these two teams, setting the tone for that Oiler win, and it happened on Sunday evening.

Things worth mentioning…

As mentioned earlier, this was Stuart Skinner’s first career playoff shutout. Despite the rough game in Game 2 and the unfortunate end of the first game, Skinner’s playoff save percentage now sits at .906, rising all the way from .857 prior to the start of the game. He’s been lights out the last two games.
The last time the Oilers shut out a team in the playoffs was also against the Kings all the way back in 2022 in Game 7 of the first round. This game felt eerily similar, as the Oilers held a 1-0 lead in that game for a long time before Connor McDavid put it away with a fantastic goal.
For the first time in the three playoff series these two teams have played over the past three seasons, the Oilers will return to Edmonton for Game 5 with a series lead. In each of the last two series, the two teams were tied at two apiece after four games. The Oilers won Game 4 last season with a come-from-behind effort led by Jack Campbell and then took the series in six. 
Up next: The Oilers return home to host the Kings in Game 5 on Wednesday evening at a time that has yet to be determined. The last time the Oilers had a 3-1 series lead was back in the second round of the 2022 playoffs, where they defeated the Calgary Flames in five games. Let’s hope the same happens.

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