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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Los Angeles Kings

Oilers can catch second place Kings with a regulation win tonight.

Arizona Coyotes v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (37-25-5, 3rd, Pacific)

Los Angeles Kings (36-23-9, 2nd, Pacific)

30 March 2022

Rogers Place

730 PM MT

TV: Sportsnet One, Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Jewels From The Crown

PICKING UP THE W

Two goals from Ryan McLeod helped lead the Oilers to a 6-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night. Leon Draisaitl and Jesse Puljujärvi each had two points, and Mikko Koskinen stopped 31 shots en route to his 24th win of the season. It was a badly needed win after Saturday’s debacle in Calgary; the Oilers will again be tested tonight by a club they’re trying to catch.

The Kings sit two points ahead of Edmonton in the standings, the Oilers have a game in hand. A regulation win will tie both of these teams with 81 points. It’s a big one for the Oilers, no doubt. Can they pick up two points tonight?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

“It was really important that we learned a lesson from our last game...We really wanted to bounce back. It was an embarrassing game on Saturday, and I think we got exactly the result that we needed. Not just the result, but the way that we played. We didn’t give any odd-man rushes, we played well. That was the most important thing, with the two points.”

Source

That’s Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen after his club’s 6-1 win over the Coyotes on Monday.

In Monday’s game preview, I had mentioned that the Oilers were going to have to make a statement after laying an egg on Saturday. Against a Coyotes club that was on the second night of a back-to-back, the Oilers did exactly what they had to do. Koskinen had a bounce back game as well, and it all worked out for Edmonton on Monday.

THE KINGS ARE SAYING

“Well, we weren’t good from minute one on...We were chasing it, so there was doubt right away. But where was the dagger? Probably the blocked shot that went [the other way], Eberle’s goal. Had a little bit of momentum.”

Source

That’s Kings head coach Todd McLellan after dropping a 6-1 contest to the Seattle Kraken on Monday.

Like everything in life, it all comes back to Jordan Eberle. The Kings will no doubt be ill-tempered after laying an egg in Seattle on Monday. Edmonton needs to be prepared for a club that’s likely to respond with their A-game.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • A BIG ONE: Saturday’s game against the Flames was probably the biggest game of the year for the Oilers up until tonight. We all know how that turned out, but the frost is fresh on the pumpkin. Edmonton has a chance to catch the Kings in the standings with a win tonight. Eyes on the prize. A regulation win will be a giant confidence-maker for the Oilers, and there’s no better time to win a game than the one in front of you.
  • UTILITY: Ryan McLeod had a three point night (2-1-3) in Monday’s 6-1 win over Arizona. This is a player that’s going to get a new contract at the conclusion of this season, and he’s going to have a breakout 2022-23 as he continues to get chances. He plays at the top of the lineup, he plays at the bottom of the lineup. I don’t rule him out getting a top six LW spot if Evander Kane does not re-sign with the Oilers this offseason.
  • NET GAINS: Mikko Koskinen (24-10-3. .901 SV% / 3.11 GAA / 1 SO) will look for his 25th win in tonight’s game versus LA. The Kings went with Cal Petersen in their loss on Monday, I think they turn back to Jonathan Quick (17-12-8, .909 SV% / 2.65 GAA / 2 SO) tonight.
  • PUSHING 50: Leon Draisaitl has six goals in his last four games, he’s two goals away from 50 on the season. There’s every reason to think he could make that happen tonight.
  • PUSHING 100: Connor McDavid has eight points in his last five games, he’s two points away from 100 on the season. There’s every reason to think he could make that happen tonight.
  • SISU: Is it a pre-game if I don’t at least mention Jesse Puljujärvi? Two assists JP in Monday’s romp over the Coyotes. Here he is helping Leon score his 48th goal of the season with a bullet pass. Sign him, eight years.
  • STINGY KINGS: The Kings are no joke this year. What’s changed? It’s not so much what they do with the puck, it’s what they’re doing without. The Kings allow the fewest shots per game on average (28.6), they’re ninth overall in goals allowed per game (2.81) as a result. Both Cal Petersen (.900) and Jonathan Quick (.909) don’t have numbers that are going to stop the world this year, Edmonton can beat this Kings club with a good attack tonight.
  • A win tonight for the Oilers would be big business. They’d tie the Kings in the standings and could potentially be five points ahead of Vegas (if the Knights lose to the Kraken). A loss could have the Oilers within one point of the Golden Knights if things don’t bounce Edmonton’s way. So let’s make this one easy.