Edmonton Oilers fall 4-3 in Game 1 against Kings

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The Los Angeles Kings took Game 1 of their first round playoff series against the Edmonton Oilers with a 4-3 win Monday night at Rogers Place.

Despite the crowd being in a frenzy, the Oilers were on their heels early.

“It was bumping in there, and maybe to a fault, we were running all over the place and maybe got out of our structure a little bit because it was so energetic,” Oilers netminder Mike Smith said after the game.

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Fans cheer during the opening ceremony before the Los Angeles Kings take on the Edmonton Oilers during NHL playoff action in Edmonton, Monday, May 2, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

They had to kill off an early penalty to Kailer Yamamoto as the Kings had a 7-0 edge in shots on goal through the first three-and-a-half minutes.

“It’s a long series and a long playoff if you want to get where we want to go,” Smith said.

“No one would have thought we would have won 16 straight. So I think it’s some adversity early in the series, but it’s nothing we haven’t dealt with before and I’m sure we’ll have to deal with it again on the journey.”

The Kings went ahead with 9:00 left in the first when Trevor Moore popped a shot right under the crossbar. Moore played setup man late in the first, finding Alex Iafallo with a backdoor pass to make it 2-0.

Read more: Mikko Koskinen backstops Edmonton Oilers to shootout win over Canucks

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Connor McDavid gave the Oilers life in the final minute of the first. He blazed down the right side, cut toward the middle, and fired a wrister behind Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.

“I thought we worked our way into things and found a way to compete, and in the end, it came down to an error in the third period and they capitalized on it,” Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft said.

“We made some mistakes that we haven’t made over the last two months or so. There are areas we can clean up, for sure.”

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates a goal against the Los Angeles Kings during first period NHL playoff action in Edmonton, Monday, May 2, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Read more: Edmonton Oilers rally for OT win over Sharks

Early in the second, Yamamoto notched his first career playoff goal. He tipped home a slap pass from Duncan Keith for a power-play goal.

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​”He was hard on the forecheck, got pucks back and made some big plays,” McDavid said of Yamamoto.

“He obviously scored a big goal and was all over the game tonight.”

Los Angeles Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick (32) looks on as Edmonton Oilers’ Kailer Yamamoto (56) celebrates a goal during second period of first round, game one NHL playoff action in Edmonton, Monday, May 2, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

​”He won a lot of puck battles and went to hard areas,” Woodcroft said of Yamamoto.

The Kings regained the lead 1:11 later when Brendan Lemieux’s shot eluded Smith. Edmonton forward Leon Draisaitl found himself alone in front and snapped a shot home on the power play. It was 3-3 after two.

“Our power play kept us in it,” McDavid said.

In the third, Smith made a diving save after giving the puck away in front of his net. The Kings kept the puck alive and Philip Danault wound up scoring on a deflection with 5:14 left.

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​”I’m just trying to make something happen and obviously trying to do too much there,” Smith said. “In a tight game like that, you can’t afford to make mistakes like that, and it ended up costing us the game.

“I’m obviously disappointed, but it’s one game and we move on and worry about Game 2.”

“There was other stuff on that play too that I think we can handle better,” Woodcroft said.

Quick finished with 36 saves. Smith made 31.

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Los Angeles Kings’ Anze Kopitar (11) is stopped by Edmonton Oilers goalie Mike Smith (41) as Darnell Nurse (25) depends during first period NHL playoff action in Edmonton, Monday, May 2, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Game 2 will be Wednesday night. You can listen to the game live on 630 CHED beginning with The Faceoff Show at 6 p.m. The actual game starts at 8 p.m.

–With files from Brenden Escott, 630 CHED

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