Monday Mailbag – First thoughts on the Oilers vs. Kings first round playoff matchup?

Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
14 days ago
It’s a playoff game day, friends! Welcome to the Mailbag. This week, we’re discussing all things playoffs as the Oilers get set to take on the Los Angeles Kings for Game 1 of their first round series. We also talked about tactics, obstacles, what’s going on around the league, and more. If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk , and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.
Mar 28, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) looks to make a pass in front of Los Angeles Kings defensemen Drew Doughty (8) during the first period at Rogers Place.
1) Yves asks – How do you like the Oilers’ chances against the Kings in round one for the third straight year?
Jason Gregor:
Edmonton is the better team. They are deeper, have more high-end talent. They’ve also proven they know how to beat the boring 1-3-1. Oilers in five.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I really like them. I think this is the weakest that the Kings’ goaltending has been and their unwillingness to move away from a very defensive 1-3-1, even when things don’t go well, should mean that the Oilers can use the same game plan that they have in years past to beat them. The Oilers won with a below-average Stuart Skinner last season as well and I’d be willing to bet that won’t be the case this time around.
If the Oilers play their game, I think they’ll be okay. If they try to force plays instead of keeping things simple, the Kings’ horrible 1-3-1 trap system will catch those mistakes and get the puck moving the other way. Keep it simple and they’ll be fine.
Apr 29, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) meets with Los Angeles Kings right wing Gabriel Vilardi (13) and left wing Alex Iafallo (19) following game six of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
2) Raj asks – The Kings will want revenge for the last two years. What do the Oilers need to do to beat LA a third time in a row?
Jason Gregor:
Play to their strengths. Be patient, have a quick transition game, continue their sound defensive play and pressure the Kings defence.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
Like I said in my last answer, getting better goaltending is step one to having this series go their way. The second thing is production from outside of McDavid and Draisaitl. They need pieces like Hyman, Nuge, Kane, and Foegele to produce way more than they did last year. Lastly, don’t get distracted by the Kings antics. They have a number of rats on their team that will be trying to get under the Oilers skin, they can’t get caught up in the extra-curriculars.
Be patient coming through the neutral zone. I know no one wants to chip and chase, but that has to be the game plan against that horrible 1-3-1 configuation. Take shots, crash the net, clean the up the garbage. They’ve got this. Oh, and lastly, don’t get sucked into LA’s nonsense because they will absolutely try to get the Oilers off their game.

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3) Chandler asks – Over the past couple of years, we’ve become pretty familiar with the Kings and some of their favourite tactics, including diving. If you had to award a gold medal for diving to a member of the Kings, who would it go to?
Jason Gregor:
Honestly, I don’t recall the Kings being big divers. I don’t know. They don’t have a Stutzle.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
Blake Lizzotte or Mikey Anderson take the award of “King Rat” if that’s what you’re asking.
I posted the Arvidsson clip above. This one was unbelievable.
Feb 10, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Kings right wing Quinton Byfield (55) and defenseman Matt Roy (3) congratulate center Trevor Lewis (61) after he scored a goal in the second period against the Edmonton Oilers at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
4) Mike E. asks – What is the biggest obstacle, within the organization’s control, to the Oilers winning the Stanley Cup this year?
Jason Gregor:
Limiting 5×5 goals against. It has been the issue for years. They’ve improved significantly in that area this season, but will it continue in the playoffs.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
I really think it’s goaltending. There’s no doubt that they can get the scoring necessary to go on a deep run. Their blueline is also good but not elite which means there will be a couple of times every game where their goaltender will have to bail them out. It’s a lot of pressure to put on one guy, but Stuart Skinner really is the most important piece on this roster.
The biggest obstacle is themselves. The Oilers are a good team and when they’re playing to their strengths, there aren’t many teams in the league that can beat them. Be fiery but not distractable. Be confident but not cocky. Lean on your skill but keep it simple. You’ve got this.
Dec 10, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander (88) and forward Auston Matthews (34) and forward John Tavares (91) celebrate after a goal by forward Mitchell Marner (not pictured) to defeat the Calgary Flames in overtime at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
5) Alvin asks – Which first-round series are you most interested in outside of the Oilers, and who is your Cup final and winner?
Jason Gregor:
Colorado and Winnipeg. I can’t wait to watch that series. For the first time in my broadcasting career (23 years) I picked EDM to beat CAR.
Tyler Yaremchuk:
Toronto vs Boston and Florida vs Tampa Bay both really have my interest. My Stanley Cup Final is Edmonton vs the New York Rangers and I have the Oilers winning in six.
There are three: Dallas vs. Vegas, Boston vs. Toronto, and Winnipeg vs. Colorado. Those are six good teams going at it, and it’s fun to think of three potential Cup contenders (of varying degrees) going out in the first round.


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