After last night’s 5-4 victory, Edmonton has eliminated the LA Kings in a roller-coaster of a series. The series was closed out on a late 3rd-period goal by Kailer Yamamoto, who capped off a very productive game 6 for the Oilers’ bottom 6. Klim Kostin posted 2 goals and an assist in the game and allowed the Oilers to keep the Kings at arm’s length for most of the game. Glimpses of hope for the LA Kings were stymied all series by effective and timely Edmonton goals. As the Kings reflect on consecutive years of first-round playoff exits, there will be a lot of questions about the future of key acquisitions in the offseason.
Special Teams Kill LA
Many of the problems that the Kings faced in this series stemmed from the inability to slow down Edmonton’s PP. The Oilers PP was operating on a 9/16 clip, putting them at 57% for the series. There was little to no answer for McDavid and Draisaitl, who feasted on a PK that lacked assertiveness and got pushed around. The King’s PP was no slouch operating at 33%, but in the end, was no answer to the Oilers and was sent home after the first round again. To be clear, an elite PP unit operates between 25-30%, so the statistics that the Oilers were putting up were astronomical. Furthermore, the same problem haunted the LA Kings in last season 7 game thriller with Edmonton last season. It’s back to the drawing board for the Kings with plenty of questions that need answering before they enter the next season.
Bright Spots for the Future
On a positive note, the Kings had a very hard-fought series and challenged Edmonton every step of the way. Joonas Korpisalo and Vladislav Gavrikov gave the Kings everything they had from the moment they got to LA, and both were very solid in the playoffs. It is going to be a long offseason, but the production from the young guys and experience will only improve the King’s trajectory. Vilardi looked stellar after his return from injury, and his emergence appears to be that of stardom in the coming years. The youth is what Kings fans have been so high on these last two years, and as long as they keep improving, Kings fans will be cheering in May very soon. Another tough finish, but the Kings grabbed more points than they did last and are continuing to move forward. A full round of applause, Kings.