Tonight is a massive Western Conference matchup between two of the top teams in the Pacific Division, the Los Angeles Kings and the Edmonton Oilers. As of the time of this article, Los Angeles sits in second place in the division (96), just two points behind Vegas (98). While the Oilers sit in third place (95), just one point behind the Kings.
This game could have potential playoff implications, specifically in regard to seeding because there is not a shadow of a doubt that both of these teams will make the playoffs. The question is now: what will their first-round matchups be?
A Kings-Oilers rematch of last year would certainly be must-watch television as Edmonton sent the Kings home in 2022 in seven games. Now, both teams are better and deeper, so if they do end up playing again in the first round, tonight could be a preview of a future seven-game series.
The puck is set to drop at 6:00 PM PST in Edmonton and ahead of tonight’s matchup, Rink Royalty interviewed Oil On Whyte, an Edmonton Oilers coverage site on the FanSided Network, to discuss Connor McDavid, who the Kings can expect to see in goal tonight, and more.
Let’s dive in.
Question #1: Connor McDavid is arguably the best player in hockey, if not the best. But, the Oilers have another top-end talent player in Leon Draisaitl. Do Oilers fans hold Draisaitl in the same regard as McDavid? Or is he a slight tier lower than him?
"Oil on Whyte replied: “Like you mentioned McDavid is on his own level, trying to compare him to any other player in the world isn’t worth the time. For Draisaitl if he was on any other team he would be their best player, but because of McDavid I don’t think he gets as much respect as he should from the league. A lot of the noise from outside of Edmonton is “Draisaitl is only putting up those numbers because he plays with McDavid”, but that isn’t the case as they rarely play on the same line 5v5. From a fans point of view I would say they have just as much love for Draisaitl as McDavid, if you look in the crowd in Rogers Place there is just about as much Draisaitl jerseys as McDavid jerseys.”"
The Oilers have been blessed to have two of the greatest hockey players on the planet, who were drafted in back-to-back years. Draisaitl was drafted with the 3rd overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, and a year later McDavid was drafted 1st overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
To say the Oilers hit on both picks would be a massive understatement and we are witnessing two future Hall of Famers take the ice every night. A dynamic duo that the Kings will most certainly have to worry about. But, with the addition of Vladislav Gavrikov at the trade deadline and two elite defensive forwards in Anze Kopitar and Phillip Danault, Los Angeles has a chance to slow them down.