May 30th, 2024

Hyman, Draisaitl score twice as Oilers beat Kings 6-1 and take 2-1 series lead

By Daniel Rainbird, The Canadian Press on April 26, 2024.

Edmonton Oilers centre Connor McDavid, right, celebrates his goal with left wing Zach Hyman, second from right, as Los Angeles Kings goaltender Cam Talbot, centre, kneels in goal while defenceman Vladislav Gavrikov, left, and centre Blake Lizotte watch during Game 3 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series Friday, April 26, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

LOS ANGELES – Zach Hyman and Leon Draisaitl scored twice, and the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Los Angeles Kings 6-1 on Friday to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Hyman increased his playoff-leading goal total to six. Draisaitl added an assist for the 50th of his career in the post-season.

Evander Kane had a goal, an assist and a fight – known as a “Gordie Howe hat trick” – and captain Connor McDavid produced a goal and two assists for Edmonton, which fell 5-4 to the Kings in overtime on Wednesday.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins pitched in with three assists as the Oilers’ top players filled stat sheet.

Stuart Skinner made 27 saves for the win.

Drew Doughty replied with his second goal of the playoffs for Los Angeles and Cam Talbot stopped 35 shots.

The red-hot Edmonton power play went 3-for-8 and the Kings were 0-for-5. Edmonton improved to 7-for-14 with the man-advantage this series and remained a perfect 0-for-10 on the penalty kill.

The Oilers and Kings are facing off in the first round for the third year in a row, with Edmonton winning the last two times. The Oilers opened this year’s series with a 7-4 win at home in Game 1 before the Kings responded in Game 2.

Game 4 of the best-of-seven matchup is set for Sunday night at Crypto.com arena. The series shifts back to Edmonton for Game 5 at Rogers Place.

The Oilers jumped out to a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes – dominating the shots 16-8 – and hardly looked back.

Hyman opened the scoring 6:42 into the first period, capitalizing on a juicy turnover from Kings defenceman Doughty.

Mattias Ekholm picked off a no-look outlet pass from Doughty and fed Hyman alone in front. The Oilers forward had a couple whacks at the puck before scoring his league-leading fifth goal of the post-season.

Edmonton doubled the lead at 15:36 when Draisaitl beat Talbot from a sharp angle after Kane’s feed. Kane drove behind the net before swinging a pass backwards that ricocheted off the net and landed on Draisaitl’s tape.

McDavid made it 3-0 on the power play at 18:34 for his 30th career playoff goal. The Oilers captain drove to the net, retrieved his own rebound and jammed the puck through Talbot to give Edmonton the commanding lead and quiet the Kings fans.

Doughty got the Kings on the board 5:32 into the second period by sneaking past Kane from the blue line and burying a cross-ice pass from Quinton Byfield into an open cage to give life to Crypto.com arena.

But L.A.’s pushback was short-lived. Kane responded 2:07 later with a deflection on Cody Ceci’s slap shot for his first of the playoffs. Kane, who struggled with a 21-game goal drought late in the regular season, jumped to the Oilers’ second line from the third line Friday and took full advantage.

The Oilers shut things down defensively the rest of the period. Darnell Nurse blocked a chance from Alex Laferriere with three minutes left to prevent a goal and Skinner turned away a shot from Adrian Kempe as the Oilers retained their three-goal cushion after 40 minutes.

Tempers flared in the third when Andreas Englund caught Kane with a high hit 6:19 into the period. A scrum ensued before Kane and Englund dropped the gloves for a fight.

The Oilers jumped out to a 5-on-3 advantage for a full two minutes and Hyman tapped in a McDavid pass for his second of the night to make it 5-1 at 6:37.

The frustrated Kings started losing control and stacking up more penalties later in the period as officials started handing out 10-minute misconducts.

Fans threw objects onto the ice when Edmonton took another 5-on-3 advantage with 7:45 left. The Oilers power play produced yet another goal as Draisaitl converted his second of the night.

PLAYOFF DRAI

Draisaitl became the fastest player in NHL history to score his 20th career road goal in the playoffs, hitting the mark in 26 games. The German forward also reached 50 assists in the post-season in his 52nd game. Only Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and McDavid did it quicker.

FRANCHISE LEADER

Kings captain Anze Kopitar skated in his 95th playoff game, all with Los Angeles, to pass Luc Robitaille for most in franchise history. Kopitar scored the overtime winner in Game 2 on Wednesday. He has one goal and two assists in three games these playoffs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 26, 2024.

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