May 29th, 2024

Draisaitl scores twice, Oilers advance to second round with 4-3 win over Kings

By Daniel Rainbird, The Canadian Press on May 1, 2024.

Los Angeles Kings goalie David Rittich (31) looks on as Edmonton Oilers' Vincent Desharnais (73), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93), Leon Draisaitl (29), Evander Kane (91) and Brett Kulak (27) celebrate a goal during first period NHL playoff action in Edmonton on Wednesday May 1, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON – Leon Draisaitl scored twice, Evan Bouchard had three assists, and the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 Wednesday to win their first-round, best-of-seven NHL playoff series in five games.

Edmonton eliminated Los Angeles in the opening round for the third year in a row after coming out on top in six games in 2023 and seven in 2022.

Zach Hyman – with his seventh of the post-season – and Evander Kane also scored for Edmonton. The Oilers’ only loss of the series was a 5-4 overtime decision in Game 2.

Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins pitched in with two assists each as Edmonton’s offence broke out at Rogers Place. McDavid extended his points total to a playoff-leading 12 (one goal, 11 assists).

Stuart Skinner made 18 saves after posting a shutout in Edmonton’s 1-0 win at Los Angeles in Game 4.

Adrian Kempe, Alex Laferriere and Blake Lizotte replied for Los Angeles. David Rittich stopped 22 shots in his second straight start.

The Oilers move on to the second round, where they’ll face the winner of a matchup between the Vancouver Canucks and Nashville Predators. Vancouver leads their series 3-2 heading into Game 6 on Friday in Nashville.

Down 2-1 in the second period, the Oilers scored three unanswered goals to take 4-2 lead.

Draisaitl opened his account with a power-play goal at 7:44 after a couple exchanges with McDavid to tie it. Rittich appeared to rob Draisaitl with a desperation glove save, but fans cheered as if it were a goal upon seeing the replay and officials ruled the puck crossed the line after video review.

The red-hot Oilers power play went 1-for-4 but scored twice just after time expired on a penalty. Edmonton finished 9-for-19 with the man-advantage in the series. Los Angeles was 0-for-1, going scoreless on 12 power plays in the series.

McDavid and Draisaitl connected again just after a penalty expired at 12:21 for the German forward’s fifth of the playoffs.

The undisciplined Kings put Edmonton up a man again near the end of the frame. This time, Hyman tapped home a puck on the goal line moments after Kings forward Pierre-Luc Dubois stepped out of the box.

The Oilers hunkered down to hold off the Kings most of the third. But with the goalie pulled, Kempe deflected a shot past Skinner with 2:18 left to trim the deficit to one.

The Kings pressured for an equalizer in the final two minutes until Phillip Danault hooked Draisaitl with 19.7 seconds left – sending Edmonton on a power play and squashing L.A.’s chances of a comeback.

Fans cheered to the their top of their lungs and chanted “Let’s Go Oilers” to provide a raucous atmosphere before puck drop, but Los Angeles stymied Edmonton early.

The Kings limited the Oilers to a paltry 13 shots in Sunday’s 1-0 loss and had the same game plan working early, holding Edmonton to one shot through 10 minutes of the game.

Kane, however, opened the scoring on Edmonton’s second shot of the night at 10:17 with a soft backhand that slipped past Rittich – a goal he’d likely want back.

Los Angeles replied with 28 seconds left in the first when the puck caromed around the boards and bounced in front of the net to Laferriere, who shot into an open net with Skinner out to play the puck.

Lizotte then scored 3:08 into the second to give Los Angeles its only lead of the game and quiet Rogers Place, where you could hear a pin drop before Edmonton replied with an onslaught.

It’s the first time the Oilers have advanced from the first round in three straight years since 1990 to 1992.

The Oilers fell 4-2 in the second round to the eventual Stanley Cup-champion Vegas Golden Knights last year.

McMAKING HISTORY

McDavid became the sixth player to record 10 or more assists through the first five games of the playoffs – and the first in nearly 30 years. Draisaitl joined McDavid and Sidney Crosby as the third active player to record 10 points in four or more playoff series.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 1, 2024.

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