Tonight the Pacific Division leading Edmonton Oilers (14-6-3) were in Los Angeles to take on the Pacific Division sucking Kings (8-12-1) in game two of a five-game road trip. Jeff Carter’s 1000th career NHL game marked the occasion, meaning a nice tribute, and an even later start than expected. The Oilers were quite good last time around, getting a big bag of sweet, stinky revenge over the Sharks in San Jose. The Kings were looking to bounce back after being shut out by the Arizona Coyotes on Monday.
Not the best of starts to this one for the Oilers. Less than two minutes into the first period, Carter tipped a puck to Tyler Toffoli streaking up the left side. He continued untroubled and beat Smith cleanly to put the Kings in front on their first shot of the game. 0-1.
The Kings would gain a bit of momentum after their positive start and kept the Oilers on their heels for the first half of the period, jumping out to a 7-1 advantage on the shot clock. This pressure culminated in a tripping penalty for Josh Archibald near the end of a shift in the defensive zone, but the Oilers managed to kill it.
After the penalty expired the Oilers managed to steady the ship a little bit and start to push back some. Unfortunately, they couldn’t make their pressure tell, and the Kings would take advantage.
A bit of a scramble in the Edmonton zone featuring multiple blown coverages and, arguably one Smith might want back, led to Anze Kopitar blasting one past Smith from the high slot. 0-2.
The Oilers didn’t wilt, however, and continued to press the issue looking for a lifeline back into the game. While it was only 0-2, a third goal would be tough to overcome on the road, even if the Kings suck now. They even managed to draw a penalty of their own shortly after conceding. Unfortunately, the power play couldn’t really get it going and the Kings managed to kill it off.
Edmonton kept pressing after the power play but still couldn’t find a breakthrough, and then with 2.5 seconds left on the clock, the Kings found a third through Jeff Carter on a rebound that both Mike Smith should have had, and Leon Draisaitl should have done better on. 0-3.
A better start in period two for the Pacific Division leaders. Mikko Koskinen replaced Mike Smith -- who has now struggled in four of his last seven starts -- in net, and Connor McDavid stole the puck from an unfortunate Ben Hutton as he was regrouping, and proceeded to beat Jonathan Quick to his right with a quick shot less than 40 seconds in. 1-3. Life. Hope. A chance.
Well, maybe not.
The Oilers failed to build on their quick start to the frame and the two sides were about even for the bulk of the period until the host Kings found another. This time, a bit of chaos caused by Gaetan Haas and Kyle Clifford battling toward the crease allowed Michael Amadio to slip one underneath Mikko Koskinen’s pad. 1-4.
Koskinen felt he was interfered with which, while true, was a result of Gaetan Haas’ contact. Tippett challenged for goaltender interference anyway, but the goal would stand and the Oilers would be charged for delay of game.
They killed the penalty, but the Amadio goal seemed to crush them a little bit. Edmonton drew a penalty, but couldn’t capitalize on the man advantage and from there Kings were the better side for the rest of the frame.
1-4 after forty minutes, and little life. Little hope. Little chance. And Jujhar Khaira finished the period in the box after taking hooking a penalty with time winding down.
Edmonton would begin the third period having about 85 seconds of Khaira’s penalty to kill off before mounting their comeback in earnest. They would.
Kill it, I mean. The comeback would never begin.
Connor McDavid tried his best, but even he couldn’t drag this outfit up the mountain today. He was zipping around as he usually does when he decides it’s time to take over, but he and his charges would be denied on this day.
Alex Chiasson took a penalty with about 13 minutes to play, and that would be about it for Edmonton’s comeback bid.
Toffoli and Carter would combine for another Kings goal late. 1-5.
A 1-5 final and a forgettable night in LA. On to the next.
You could go a couple different ways with this one. The top unit was not good in the first period, on the ice for all three Kings goals.
Mike Smith was also not good in the first period, and the Oilers might have been able to overcome their slow start if they were able to get a couple of saves in the opening frame. Mike Smith has been flat out bad far too often for my taste, even if his overall numbers have been relatively good with some strong performances mixed in.
Adam Larsson looked rusty as can be, and while it was encouraging to see Caleb Jones retain his opportunity in the top four to start this one, it was tough to watch the pairing of he and Kris Russell attempt to move the puck.
Speaking of Jones, he had a tough night. I had him at least partially responsible on at least a couple of Kings tallies tonight. Hopefully, he can learn from this one and hopefully Tippett gives him an opportunity to do so.
Speaking of Tippett, he actually experimented with playing McDavid and Draisaitl on separate lines late in the third period to try and find something. It didn’t yield much but one wonders if he might be tempted to try them apart to start the next one in Arizona.
All numbers 5v5 and courtesy Natural Stat Trick and possibly out of date as I published this immediately and it might not have been fully updated by time of publishing. Not even sorry.
CF: 39-40 - 49.37%
FF: 32-30 - 51.61%
SCF: 18-17 - 51.43%
HDCF: 8-5 - 61.54%
xGF: 1.78 - 1.81 - 49.54%
Shots: 22-25 - 46.81%
Golazos: 1-4 - 20%
Las Vegas for a date with the Golden Knights (11-9-4) on Saturday night. 8PM MST start. See you then.