May 27th, 2024

Kopitar’s OT winner lifts Kings to 5-4 win over Oilers, even series at 1-1

By Shane Jones, The Canadian Press on April 24, 2024.

Los Angeles Kings' Mikey Anderson (44), Quinton Byfield (55) and Anze Kopitar (11) celebrate Kopitar's game-winning goal against the Edmonton Oilers during overtime NHL playoff action in Edmonton on Wednesday April 24, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON – Anze Kopitar scored the overtime winner and had a pair of assists as the Los Angeles Kings knocked off the Edmonton Oilers 5-4 to tie their opening-round playoff series 1-1 on Wednesday.

Kopitar scored just 2:07 into overtime after a weird bounce gave him a lane up the centre of the ice and he beat Stuart Skinner high to the glove side.

Adrian Kempe, with a pair of goals, Drew Doughty and Kevin Fiala also scored for Los Angeles, which is looking for revenge after being knocked out in the first round by the Oilers the previous two seasons.

Cam Talbot made 27 saves.

Dylan Holloway scored a pair of goals, while Brett Kulak and Zach Hyman also responded for Edmonton. The Oilers failed to win the first two games of a playoff series on home ice for the first time since the second round in 1990.

Skinner stopped 21 shots.

The Kings opened the scoring just 3:19 into the first period. Edmonton flubbed a chance to escape its own zone, allowing Kopitar to feed it to Kempe, who sent a wrist shot past Skinner for his second of the playoffs.

The same duo gave Los Angeles a two-goal advantage with 5:03 to play in the first. Kopitar’s pass deflected in front to Kempe, who did a nifty job corralling the puck and then batting it out of mid-air and past Skinner for his second of the contest.

Edmonton came close to getting that goal back less than a minute later as the puck was loose in the crease before a dogpile formed even inside the net itself, keeping the Oilers off the board.

Kulak put his side on the board with 2:27 to play in the first period. Leon Draisaitl dropped it back to Kulak in the high slot and he got all of it for his second career playoff goal.

However, just 29 seconds later, the Kings responded when Doughty was sent in on a breakaway and scored despite losing control of the puck, as the momentum took it through Skinner’s legs. It was Doughty’s first playoff goal since 2014.

Edmonton pulled back to within a goal 7:51 into the second period. Holloway scored his first career playoff goal on a hopeful shot from distance that Talbot waved at.

Hyman tied the game up at 10:33 of the middle frame on the power play. Draisaitl noticed Hyman dropping back and feathered a pass through to allow him to unleash a wicked one-timer for his fourth of the post-season.

Fiala restored the Kings’ lead just 1:46 into the third period when he sent a long shot on net from the side boards that surprised Skinner to make it 4-3.

Holloway quickly knotted it back up 3:23 into the third period. He got his second of the game, picking the top corner to eventually send the game to overtime. It was just Holloway’s third career playoff game.

The Oilers outshot L.A. 30-25 in regulation.

NOTES

It is the third consecutive season that the Oilers and Kings have met in the first round, the first time two teams have done so in more than 20 years. Edmonton won in seven games in 2022 and in six games in 2023. “¦ McDavid’s five assists in Game 1 made him the 14th player in NHL history to achieve the feat and the first since Geoff Courtnall in 1998 “¦ Kopitar played in his 94th career playoff game, tying Luc Robitaille for most in Kings history.

UP NEXT

The series now shifts to Los Angeles, with Game 3 taking place on Friday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 24, 2024.

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