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Kings Draw First Blood

The Kings take Game One 4-3 off a Mike Smith gaffe

The Edmonton Oilers dropped a heartbreaking 4-3 score to the LA Kings in Game One of their first-round matchup. The game was tied with five minutes to go in the game before Mike Smith made an absolutely terrible play up the middle that eventually led to the game-winner zinging past him.

Before that, it was quite an anxiety-inducing game. The details of which are below...

First Period:

The building was rocking, the anthem was sung, and the puck was dropped. Game on in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinal.

Alex Edler had the first good chance of the game mere seconds into things sending a decent shot on net that Mike Smith smothered.

The rough stuff didn’t wait either as Kailer Yamamoto and Alex Iafallo wrestled behind the Edmonton net. Yamo was the only one to get called on a rough, sending LA to the game’s first powerplay.

LA was relentless on the chance, sending absolutely everything toward Smith who was just as sharp denying a number of great chances. It was close, but Edmonton kills it off.

Connor McDavid made his first mark on the series a few minutes later, drawing a holding call on Edler to give the Oilers their first chance with the man-advantage. Ryan McLeod had the best chance punching in on a breakaway but was stonewalled by Jonathan Quick.

Zack Kassian brought the thunder after the PP laying an absolutely brutal open-ice hit on Jordan Spence. That’s the type of play Kassian needs to be making in the postseason.

It was the Kings who would strike force as Trevor Moore jumped on a bouncing puck in the slot over the glove. 1-0 LA with 9 left in the first.

Brett Kulak had a fantastic chance to knot things up on a feed from McDavid but he couldn’t beat Quick. The Kings were able to weather the Edmonton pressure and extend their lead on the very next shift. Moore sent a pass from behind the net to Iafallo who hammered it in. Oilers in a 2-0 hole late in the first.

McDavid and Evander Kane connected on a 2-on-1 soon after but once again it was Quick stopping the on-timer on #91. That wall was finally able to be broken by McDavid as he went end-to-end in the last minute and zipped it past Quick to make it 2-1 heading into the intermission.

Second Period:

Edmonton got an early chance on the PP as Iafallo tripped up an on-rushing Draisaitl. A fantastic opportunity to knot things up. Things started positively for the Oilers as they were all over the LA net with two separate scrums that weren’t able to find twine.

Draisaitl was robbed right after on a great look a shift later. The pressure paid off as Duncan Keith found Kailer Yamamoto who redirected it into the net! Oilers roar back to tie things at 2-2!

The tie wouldn’t last long as Brendan Lemieux beat Smith on a low shot. Kings retake the lead at 3-2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins then took a hooking penalty to give LA a chance to restore their two-goal cushion. Blake Lizotte came close with a crossbar but it was an otherwise successful kill by Edmonton.

A tenacious shift by Zach Hyman gave the Oilers another chance on the PP as Iafallo went to the box on a crosscheck. It would be Leon Draisaitl that converted after McDavid found him WIDE OPEN to send the puck past Quick’s blocker. 3-3 game!

Draisaitl yet again drew a penalty, this time a hold against Byfield. For the first time in the game, the Oil had a chance to get up ahead with the PP. They’d keep the pressure on but weren’t able to convert.

That is how the second would end. It was anyone’s game at 3-3 going into the third period.

Third Period:

McDavid opened up the period with a breakaway off the opening draw...he ran out of runway however and didn’t get a good shot on net.

The Oilers had to go to the kill once again as Brett Kulak got dinged on an interference call. LA came close but Smith stood tall on the kill. They would have to keep it up as not too long after Darnell Nurse went to the box for a hook. The kill was successful and almost had a shorty as RNH was unable to get a stick on a 2-on-1 opportunity.

The Kings would get on the board first in the period after Mike Smith made an absolutely baffling play up the middle. He saved the initial chance but flubbed a point shot right after. All on the goaltending there. 4-3 LA with 5 left to play.

Edmonton put on a good last minute push but that mistake was too much to overcome. Oilers drop Game One 4-3.

Takeaways:

  • I think I’m a bit too emotionally drained to give some in-depth takeaways. Take the loss and move on to Game 2 on Wednesday! #LetsGoOilers!
  • No wait, I have one. Don’t start Smith next game. Awful awful awful.