How Edmonton Oilers closed out L.A. Kings in Game 5: 5 takeaways

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers have completed the hat trick against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Oilers defeated the Kings 4-3 in Game 5 on Wednesday to knock them out of the first round of the playoffs for the third straight season. To add insult to injury, the Oilers have gotten the job done in one fewer game each year.

The Oilers now await the winner of the Canucks-Predators series. Vancouver has a 3-2 lead with Game 6 slated for Friday in Nashville.

It’ll be a few days until the second-round series begins, giving the Oilers some rest to prepare for what they hope is a long playoff run ahead.

As for the Kings, they face a future of some hard evaluation with their inability to get past the first round yet again. This veteran-powered club was capped out this season and their longtime GM, Rob Blake, may be on shaky ground. Interim coach Jim Hiller doesn’t figure to return even if Blake is kept on by team president Luc Robitaille.

Oilers power play ignites offense — again

Special teams were the story of the series. Game 5 was no different.

The Oilers got a crucial power-play goal from Leon Draisaitl, a shot that initially appeared to be stopped by Kings goalie David Rittich. But video review confirmed Rittich’s mitt was over the line and the goal at 7:44 tied the game 2-2. That gave the Oilers nine power-play goals in 15 opportunities in the series.

The Oilers had two other man advantages in the second period and, though they didn’t officially capitalize on them, they essentially did.

Draisaitl scored his second of the period and fifth of the playoffs, a goal that came four seconds after Kevin Fiala emerged from the penalty box.

Then, Zach Hyman netted his seventh goal, tying him with Colorado’s Valeri Nichushkin for the NHL lead, three ticks of the clock after Drew Doughty was set free.

Evan Bouchard assisted on each of the three second-period tallies by the Oilers. Connor McDavid was in on two of them.

The Oilers also killed off the only Kings power play on Wednesday to go a perfect 12-for-12 in that regard in the series.

Depth scoring gives Kings a fighting chance

The Kings did have a look at taking this series back to Los Angeles and they could thank some unexpected sources that provided their offense.

Heading into Wednesday night, Los Angeles felt like Game 4 was its best performance overall even if the result was a 1-0 loss. The bounce that the Kings didn’t get that night came late in the first period of Game 5 as Vladislav Gavrikov’s hard dump-in took a carom toward the slot as Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner was caught behind the net. Rookie forward Alex Laferriere pounced on the puck and deposited it into an abandoned cage for his first playoff goal and a 1-1 tie.

And the Kings put the pressure on in the first part of the middle period. Viktor Arvidsson sprung Blake Lizotte on a quick counter into the Oilers zone and beat Skinner cleanly for a 2-1 lead. It was also Lizotte’s first playoff goal in his 15th contest and L.A. got goals from bottom-six forwards that combined for 19 tallies on the year. But on this night of elimination, they didn’t get big games from their big guns.

Adrian Kempe did score his fourth goal of the series late as they pulled David Rittich for an extra attacker but he didn’t much help from others consistently. Anze Kopitar’s OT winner in Game 2 was his only score. Trevor Moore, PL Dubois and Kevin Fiala also only had one goal each.

Skinner shakes off weird bounce

Skinner had some weird goals get past him in this series — pucks off his teammates’ skates and a double deflection in the first two games. Something that happened on Wednesday takes the cake.

Gavrikov rimmed a shoot-in along the boards from the neutral zone and Skinner left his crease to play the puck. As he did, the puck caromed off a stanchion and jutted out to the front of the slot. There waiting was Laferriere for an easy tap-in, tying the score 1-1 with 28 seconds left in the first period. The goal ended 114 shutout minutes for Skinner.

Skinner didn’t let the bad-luck marker faze him and made 18 saves to help the Oilers close out the series. He was excellent over the last three games, allowing four goals on 82 shots.

Penalty problems prove damaging for Kings

Unlike Game 4 where they only committed one penalty, the Kings couldn’t keep themselves from the penalty box and that would prove damaging against an opponent they simply couldn’t contain when short-handed.

The final box score might show the Kings doing a better job on their penalty kill but two of Edmonton’s scores came seconds after its power plays expired. Moore’s slashing minor was taken care of early in the second, but the Kings would pay for Gavrikov’s hooking penalty as Draisaitl scored on a goal that Rittich nearly made an incredible glove save on.

The Kings won’t be happy with the officiating by TJ Luxmore and Gord Dwyer after Fiala was whistled for embellishment, which denied them a potential five-on-three opportunity in a 2-2 game. Or the holding call on Dubois for putting Draisaitl down with his check. Draisaitl would get his second of the night just after Dubois left the bin for a 3-2 lead.

And Zach Hyman would get credited for a tap-in just after Doughty served a slashing minor, the Oilers could put the game into lockdown mode in the third. Edmonton’s ability to maintain possession on their man advantages simply overwhelmed the Kings.

Bouchard continues his offensive dominance

McDavid and Draisaitl get lots of hoopla in these parts and around the NHL. It’s deserved. They’re two of the best playoff performers in league history. They had 12 and 10 points, respectively, in the series.

Given their brilliance, it’s easy to forget about Bouchard.

The 24-year-old had the best scoring season by an Oilers blueliner of anyone not named Paul Coffey with 82 points in 81 games. That output left him fourth in the NHL among all defensemen.

With three assists on Wednesday (again with the Oilers up 4-2), Bouchard is up to nine points in the playoffs — tying Cale Makar for the lead among defensemen. He’s scored just one goal, but it was massive — the only marker in a 1-0 Game 4 win.

Add it all up, and it’s not a bad encore for Bouchard based on last year’s postseason when he recorded 17 points to pace all blueliners even though the Oilers played just 12 games.

(Photo of Leon Draisaitl: Codie McLachlan / Getty Images)

Originally Appeared Here

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