Edmonton Oilers vs. Los Angeles Kings Playoff Series Preview

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The rematch is set. The Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings are set to do battle for a second-straight year in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Last year ended in Game 7, with the Oilers prevailing on their way to the Western Conference Finals. This time, both teams have improved their roster, which should make for an intense series.

The main cores of this team have not changed much. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are still running the show in Edmonton, but they have an improved supporting cast around them. The Kings still score by committee, with Anze Kopitar and new addition Kevin Fiala leading the way.

One thing that is similar about these teams is the fact that they both bought at the Trade Deadline. The Oilers made a big splash for Mattias Ekholm, which has resulted in a massive bump in their record and underlying numbers. Since March 1, the Oilers have been an NHL-best 18-2-1. Yes, that means they had a better record than the Boston Bruins since that time, and they are undoubtedly the hottest team in the NHL. Conversely, the Kings are 13-5-2 in that same time frame.

The Los Angeles Kings made two major improvements to the roster. Firstly, they traded for defenceman Vladislav Gavrikov from the Columbus Blue Jackets, and he has made an immediate impact. The pairing of Gavrikov and Matt Roy, according to Moneypuck.com, has a 70.7 percent expected goals percentage, which is the best mark among any defense pairing in the NHL with at least 150 minutes played.

Their other significant addition was goaltender Joonas Korpisalo. As a King, he has a 7-3-1 record with a .928 save percentage and a 2.13 goals-against average. Those are remarkable numbers for the 28-year-old netminder, making for an interesting battle between him and Stuart Skinner in the crease. Skinner’s numbers to end the season included a 29-14-5 record, to go along with a .914 save percentage and 2.73 goals against average.

Even with the Oilers coming in scorching hot, this series still has the potential to go the distance. The two-way capabilities of both Kopitar and Philip Danault make the Kings one of the better matchups for the Oilers in the entire league. The Oilers’ league-leading power play will also be a key factor in this series, as it can rack up goals in a hurry if it gets hot.

The puck drops on game one Monday night in Edmonton, with game two set to go on Wednesday night. The Oilers again have a home-ice advantage as they did last year, which proved crucial.

Stanley Cup Aspirations Cue’ the Duck Boats Pod

The boys are back after a long break but have plenty to talk about as the playoffs are in full swing. We go series by series, looking at how teams have fared so far and who will come out on top. Thanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Stanley Cup Aspirations
  2. The Final Countdown
  3. Here Come the Playoffs
  4. Home Stretch
  5. Kevy Cooks

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