In the second of the back-to-back, and Jay Woodcroft’s third game behind the bench, the Edmonton Oilers were in Los Angeles to take on the Kings. Edmonton was looking for it’s third win in a row under Woodcroft, and LA was also looking for its third win in a row. A win for the Oilers would vault them into third place in the Pacific division.
The Kings were playing their first game in two weeks, much like the San Jose Sharks last night, and the Oilers should be prepared to jump on a team who hasn’t seen game action in a fortnight. The Kings won their last matchup against the Oilers with a score of 5-1, where Connor McDavid took a 5-minute major and LA scored three.
The LA Kings also honoured Drew Doughty, who played his 1000th game a few weeks ago.
drew doughty gave an hilarious speech after receiving a presentation for hitting 1000 nhl games.— zach laing (@zjlaing) February 16, 2022
"to edmonton, thanks for going through this, i know this sucks watching it but we'll get out there in a sec." pic.twitter.com/dC6JLN6uFb
The Oilers rolled out:
Hyman - McDavid - Puljujarvi
Kane - Draisaitl - Yamamoto
Foegele - Nugent-Hopkins - Ryan
Shore - McLeod
Nurse - Bouchard
Lagesson - Ceci
Niemelainen, Broberg, Barrie rotating on third pair
One thing noticeable early in the Woodcroft era is his deployment of the players, which is much different than his predecessor’s. Between ice time, running seven defencemen or throwing Ryan McLeod on the penalty kill, Woodcroft has been much more effective in his lineup decisions thus far.
Let’s see how tonight went.
Early on, Olli Maatta catches Zach Hyman up high with a stick. Hyman bit his tongue and drew blood, turning it into a double minor. Draisaitl with a few glorious opportunities, and the Oilers muster up 5 shots, but no goals. Powerplays have been going poorly as of late for the Oilers, who were 0 for 4 last night as well. In the aftermath, we also heard that Hyman had to have his tongue sewn up back in the locker room.
Late in the period, Arthur Kaliyev capitalizes on a Mike Smith turnover and it ends up in the Oiler net. 1-0 Kings as Edmonton trails in a game for the first time under Jay Woodcroft.
i uh... i'm just gonna leave this here. 1-0 kings. pic.twitter.com/mlkHSpp78V— zach laing (@zjlaing) February 16, 2022
Quickly after the goal, Darnell Nurse is called for holding as Anze Kopitar put him in the spin zone. With 10 seconds to go in the penalty kill, Lagesson called for hooking.
Ten seconds in, Dustin Brown ties up Darnell Nurse behind the Oiler net. While appearing to be banged up, Nurse stayed in the game and Edmonton enjoyed an abbreviated powerplay. However, no shots on net and the Oilers are 0 for 3.
After Yamamoto is lit up by Mikey Anderson and gives up the puck, Derek Ryan takes a hooking call to send the Kings to the PP. No dice to the Kings though. Moore and McDavid also get tied up behind the Oilers net, and both are heading to the box for unsportsmanlike in a trade that Los Angeles takes all day.
With two minutes to go, McDavid believes he’s scored but the referee on the ice calls it off. However, Anderson buried Jesse Puljuljarvi into Peterson and it is a 1-1 game late in the second. McDavid has scored in 5 straight road games and has his 25th of the year on the tying goal.
At the end of the period, Evander Kane gives Brendan Lemieux a shot to the face after the whistle and is called for roughing. Lemieux absolutely embellished his reaction, but the Kings go to the powerplay. If his nose did break, he certainly deserved the shot.
Prayers for Brendan Lemieux. pic.twitter.com/9YCQhPUEou— Nick Alberga (@thegoldenmuzzy) February 16, 2022
After the Oilers kill off the Kings’ fourth powerplay of the game, Kaliyev is called for holding on Broberg behind the Oiler net. No dice again, despite some good looks.
Finding a loose puck beside the net, the third line delivers again and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins shelfs it to give Edmonton it’s first lead of the evening. 2-1.
Nuge has been on fire since returning from injury.
Nugent-Hopkins since his return on January 25th:— Tony Brar (@TonyBrarOTV) February 16, 2022
10GP, 4G, 5A, 9 PTS, +5, 30 Shots (including tonight - 10 mins left to play).
Oilers: 6-2-1 (1-5-1 in seven games without RNH)
Line of Foegele, Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan strikes for their third goal in two nights. #Oilers
The momentum is short-lived, as Evander Kane is back to the box after slashing the stick of an LA King. A surprising call, as it was just stick on stick. However, Oilers kill their fifth straight of the night.
The Kings hem in the Oilers for multiple shifts, and then Philip Danault goes uncovered by three Oilers in front and pots his 13th of the year to tie the game at two.
Late in the third, Woodcroft has only rotated 10 forwards. Shore has played 2:57 tonight and no shifts since early in the second. The strategy pays off, as Draisaitl finds Yamamoto all alone in front to take the lead with 4 minutes to go.
The Kings can’t score on a mad scramble in front, and then McDavid finds Hyman to pot one in the open net. Tyson Barrie made the defensive play in front of Mike Smith. Kane also scores another ENG, and he overcomes his two penalties with two points in the third. 5-2 Oilers. Jay Woodcroft is 3-0-0 as head coach, the first time ever in Oilers history, and the Oilers now sit in third in the Pacific division.