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    Kings eliminated by Oilers again, this time in 5 games
    • May 2, 2024

    EDMONTON, Alberta — When you allow the Edmonton Oilers to nearly set a franchise record with nine power-play goals in a playoff series, your chances of winning are pretty slim, and the Kings found out the hard way.

    Leon Draisaitl scored twice, while Evander Kane and Zach Hyman also tallied their second and seventh goals of the series as Edmonton knocked the Kings out of the playoffs for a third straight year with a 4-3 win on Wednesday night at Rogers Place to take their Western Conference first-round series 4-1.

    Evan Bouchard added three assists, and Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had two each. McDavid extended his points total to a playoff-leading 12 (one goal, 11 assists).

    Alex Laferriere and Blake Lizotte scored their first-ever playoff goals in the loss, while Adrian Kempe scored late in the third period as the Kings pressed for the equalizer.

    Edmonton finished 9 for 21 on the power play, while the Kings were 0 for 12 in the series. The Oilers’ power play the last three years against the Kings in the playoffs finished 25 for 56 (44.6%) overall.

    While the Kings went toe-to-toe with the Oilers at even-strength, special teams played a huge role in why the Kings are going home early for the third straight season.

    David Rittich made his second straight start for the Kings and made 22 saves in the loss, while Stuart Skinner made 18 saves in the win as the Oilers will advance and face the winner of the Vancouver-Nashville series.

    “Yes, they have an amazing power play, amazing players and throw a lot of amazing things at us. But a lot of those goals were preventable, in my opinion. And it wasn’t like we weren’t trying to do the right thing,” a dejected Drew Doughty said.

    “We tried to block shots, take passing lanes away. They’re good players, but if we had a better PK, I think we would have taken the series deeper, for sure.”

    With their playoff lives on the line, the Kings came out strong in the opening half of the first period, but found themselves down 1-0 on Kane’s goal at the 10:17 mark.

    After Laferriere’s goal tied the score with 28 seconds left in the first period, it gave the Kings a much-needed jolt, and Lizotte’s wrist shot from just inside the right faceoff circle gave the Kings a 2-1 lead at the 3:08 mark of the second period – but the Kings fell on tough times from there.

    It became a parade to the penalty box not long after Lizotte’s go-ahead goal and the Oilers only scored one goal on the man advantage, but you might as well call it three power-play goals, as they connected on two more goals just four and three seconds after penalties to Pierre-Luc Dubois and Doughty expired.

    “It’s super frustrating. I don’t really have all the answers for you with what’s missing. We need more guys to step up and play better … all of us – every single guy on our team,” Doughty said.

    With their backs against the wall in the third period, the Kings weren’t able to muster many quality scoring chances in the final frame. After recording just five shots in the second period, they fired just six shots on Skinner, four of which were in the final three minutes of the game.

    Kempe re-directed a point shot from Matt Roy with 2:28 remaining with Rittich pulled to cut Edmonton’s lead to 4-3. They had another couple decent looks on Skinner in the final minute of play, but they couldn’t find the equalizer.

    “Definitely a disappointing feeling. Obviously (losing) for a third year in a row, it sucks right now,” Kings captain Anze Kopitar said.

    “We just got to play better really. Special teams hurt us a lot in this series. There were parts of the games where we were good, we were dictating the game, but we obviously need to do it more often in every game in order to win the series.”

    After getting shut out 1-0, despite outshooting Edmonton 33-13 in Game 4, the Kings were looking for a bounce to go their way, and they got that on Laferriere’s first-career playoff goal.

    After Vladislav Gavrikov dump in took a weird bounce off the glass, the puck swung onto the stick of the Kings rookie, who had a wide open net with Skinner out of position.

    That goal made it 1-1, and after killing off an Oilers power play early in the second period and Lizotte gave them the lead, it looked like the momentum may be swinging back in the favor of the Kings, but then the penalty trouble started, and it gave Edmonton life and the Kings were forced to scratch and claw their way back with their playoff lives on the line.

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    “Whether they were penalties or not, the bottom line is we have to get the job done on special teams and we didn’t do it throughout the five games,” Kopitar said.

    Losing in the playoffs sting, and the Kings have lost three straight years to the Kings. In 2022, the series went seven games. Last year, they lost in six, and this year, the series went five games.

    “Obviously it makes you want to beat them more, but the point is we lost three years in a row in the first round,” Doughty said. “Yeah, it’s against Edmonton, but it doesn’t matter who you lost to, it’s the same amount of disappointment in wanting to win the series.

    “Obviously we got to win a playoff round. That was our goal this year. I think we gave them a harder challenge last year, which is unfortunate, but we have to work hard in the offseason again and come back stronger and use this experience and these last experiences as motivation and try to win a series.”

    Coach Hiller gives final thoughts @LAKings I #LAKingsLive

    — Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) May 2, 2024

    Kopi talks with the media@LAKings I #LAKingsLive

    — Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) May 2, 2024

    Drew talks about the series loss@LAKings I #LAKingsLive

    — Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) May 2, 2024


    — x – LA Kings (@LAKings) May 2, 2024

    ​ Orange County Register