Kings’ resiliency carries them to Game 1 OT win over Edmonton

LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports) /

It’s always satisfying when the Los Angeles Kings defeat the Edmonton Oilers. But, it’s even more satisfying when they do it in the Edmonton’s barn. Last night was a movie for Los Angeles Kings fans watching the meteoric comeback by the Kings to overcome their divisional foes.

Edmonton came out guns-blazing, ready to take a stranglehold on this series. Leon Draisaitl scored roughly seven minutes into the game and maintained the hot stick heading into the second period. Defenseman Evan Bouchard also found the back of the net in the first period on an Edmonton two-man advantage, giving the Oilers a commanding 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.

Around the 8:35 mark, Drew Doughty took a penalty for hooking Connor McDavid. And 30 seconds later, Mikey Anderson got called for holding against Connor McDavid. The rivalry between these two was heating up because the last time these two teams played, Connor McDavid boarded Mikey Anderson and received no punishment for it.

Two penalties 30 seconds apart on the “best player in the world” did propel Edmonton to a 2-0 lead, but they could not hold it until the end.

The Second Period was less eventful as both teams could not find the back of the net.

Edmonton out-shot Los Angeles in the second period 13-10, but also took three penalties in the 20-minute span. And unfortunately, Quinton Byfield was the victim of two of them. First from a trip by Evander Kane and second from a slash by Zach Hyman.

However, despite the three power-plays for the Kings, their one-man advantage could not find the back of the net. The third penalty for the Oilers was a high-sticking from Evander Kane on LA’s Adrian Kempe with about one minute to go in the period.

The last penalty came in the dying seconds as Alex Iafallo got called for high-sticking on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, which canceled out the one-man advantage for the Kings for a brief amount of time.

The Third Period was pure chaos as Adrian Kempe scored twice, Leon Draisaitl scored his second of the game, and Anze Kopitar tied it up with 16 seconds to go.

The Swedish sensation embodied his 40-goal season in this game as he notched two goals in the final twenty minutes. He tied Leon Draisaitl at two goals apiece in the game and helped ignite the Kings’ comeback.

Heading into the third period, Los Angeles was still down 2-0. But, one of Kempe’s goals came 52 seconds into the third period and removed the goose egg from the scoresheet. Edmonton took a two-goal lead again as Draisaitl found the back of the net again. He single-handedly carried the Oilers offensively in this game.

But, it was the team effort of the Kings that willed them to this win in enemy territory. Another Kempe goal and Anze Kopitar’s tap-in goal in the dying seconds sent this game into overtime. With a little less than two minutes to go, Edmonton held a 3-2 lead and was looking to get out of there with a 1-0 series lead.

Defenseman Evan Bouchard got called for a high-sticking on Trevor Moore, giving the Kings a one-man advantage with Game 1 on the line. Once Los Angeles got and maintained control of the puck in the Oilers’ zone, Joonas Korpisalo skated to the bench, sending out an extra attacker.

Now, the Kings are playing 6-on-4 with an empty net. One miscue could send LA into a 0-1 hole. But, that is the opposite of what happened. Phillip Danault fired it on net, and Oilers’ goaltender Stuart Skinner got most of it, but not all of it.

The puck was sitting on the goal-line in no man’s land, but captain Anze Kopitar jumped on it and flipped it in the net to tie the game.

The chaos continued in overtime as Edmonton had a goal called back, opening the door for Los Angeles to steal the win.

About two minutes into the fourth period, Ryan McLeod scored a goal on Joonas Korpisalo. But, it was called back due to a high stick. The stick was above the crossbar, meaning the game continued and the Kings had life again.

Roughly eight minutes later, the Kings were on another powerplay due to a tripping call on Edmonton’s Vincent Desharnais. Desharnais tripped Blake Lizotte, and now the Kings have another opportunity to score with a one-man advantage.

And this time. They did. Off a tic-tac-toe pass, Alex Iafallo finds the back of the net and seals the Game 1 win for Los Angeles. A massive win in the opponent’s barn that sucked all of the life out of the crowd as they watched their Oilers skate off in defeat.

Game 2 is scheduled for tomorrow night, April 19, 2023, at 7 PM PST, or 10 PM EST.

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