Last night’s game was more of the same for the LA Kings, with a few wrinkles. Kevin Fiala returned for the Kings and made an immediate impact with two assists in the 1st period, where the Kings came out and. built a 3-0 lead after one. However, LA showed up flat in the 2nd period and opened the door for the Oilers to climb back in, taking two penalties, both of which Edmonton cashed in on. The score after 2 was 3-3. There was a much better performance in the 3rd period from both teams, and after Matt Roy and Evander Kane scored a goal for their team, the score was 4-4 heading into overtime. Hyman found the twine midway into the OT period and secured a 5-4 win and series tie for Edmonton as they head home for game 5. The Kings cannot seem to shake having a very costly period throughout this series. It’s been a story of making up ground from a poor 20 minutes of play that LA can’t seem to overcome. It will take a more complete showing for it to be a different narrative heading into Tuesday’s game in Edmonton.
Kevin Fiala’s Return Stymied by Oilers
The long wait for Kevin Fiala is over for LA Kings fans. It was very clear the impact that he makes on the ice as the 1st period last night saw LA jump ahead 3-0 with him back on the ice. Unfortunately for the Kings, Edmonton had an answer for their pace and style as the Oilers magnified the issue LA has on their 3rd pair. Defensemen Sean Durzi and Alex Edler were once again taken advantage of to swing momentum back into the Oiler’s favor. Leon Draisaitl has been a terror on the ice, and he did not disappoint for Edmonton last night. He scored back-to-back goals, including the game-tying PP goal in the 2nd period to bring the game back to even. It’s a challenging task to shut down 2 of the best players in the world all game, but shooting yourselves in the foot to get them going is not ideal. The Kings had a bounce in their step, and a forward lean to their game early, but costly mistakes and execution from the Oilers spoiled the performance. In spite of those issues, Kevin Fiala being back in the lineup for the series could be a real issue for Edmonton moving forward. It’s all about clicking the right buttons at the right time.
Keys to Close Series
If the LA Kings want to walk away the victor from this series, they have to find an answer to Edmonton’s PP. The Oilers were 2/3 last night and continue to make life very disappointing for LA when they take penalties. If you’re the Kings, a better performance from the top line is necessary to balance out the depth with Fiala’s return. All three skaters were a -3 last night for LA, and that just will not cut it. The Kings are facing some adversity, but Fiala and Vilardi back in the forward groups should be a matchup nightmare for an Oilers team whose depth is suspect. Keep your foot on the gas pedal and find a way to play 60 minutes of quality hockey if you’re the Kings. Game 5 is tomorrow, the 25th, in Edmonton at 6:30 PM PST and should determine the tilt of the series.