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Edmonton Oilers crush Kings 8-2 to take 2-1 series lead

Mike Smith made 44 saves and Evander Kane racked up his first playoff hat trick as the Edmonton Oilers pounded the L.A. Kings 8-2 on Friday night.

The Oilers now lead the best-of-seven series 2-1.

“I thought they had really good pushes tonight,” Connor McDavid said of the Kings after the game. “The score didn’t necessarily show that, but I thought they had a really good first period and we found a way to get two — and obviously they pushed hard there after the game got to five. So, they had great pushes; they’re a solid team over there, they play a great system. This is a long way from over.”

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The Oilers jumped ahead with two goals in the first 6:07 of the game.

While playing four-on-four, Connor McDavid fed Leon Draisailt on a two-on-one for Draisaitl’s third of the series. McDavid played set-up man again on the power play with Zach Hyman tapping in a goal mouth pass.

Read more: Edmonton Oilers blow out Kings 6-0 in Game 2

Mike Smith made 19 saves in the first, including a denial of Anze Kopitar from the slot on a Los Angeles power play.

In the second period, Cody Ceci held in a clearing attempt. His shot was stopped by Jonathan Quick, but Kane was on the spot to tap in the rebound for a 3-0 lead.

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Hyman fired in a wrister to chase Quick from the crease, having allowed four goals on 17 shots.

“I think that our looks were quality looks,” Hyman said. “They were kind of throwing it from everywhere and just pumping up the shot clock. We were trying to take it to the middle and get some quality shots on them.”

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Kane beat the new keeper Cal Petersen to give the Oilers three goals in just over three minutes in the second period.

“I think our 5-on-5 game’s gotten a lot better,” Kane said. “Obviously our special teams has been good throughout these three games. It’s that time of year where you want to raise your game to a different level and I think there’s a lot of guys doing that right now.”

Anze Kopitar got the Kings on the board 16 seconds later, ending Smith’s shutout run at 95:21. Phillip Danault added a power play goal late in the second to cut the Oilers lead to 5-2.

Read more: Edmonton Oilers fall 4-3 in Game 1 against Kings

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins put it away twice 1:21 apart in the third. In the final minute, Nugent-Hopkins set up Kane for his hat trick goal.

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Cody Ceci had assists on all three of Kane’s goals.

“We displayed some perseverance, some persistence and some patience to our game and struck when the time was right,” head coach Jay Woodcroft said. “I think it’s a good sign for us that we got contributions from everybody.”

Game 4 will be Sunday (630 CHED, Face-off Show 6 p.m., game at 8 p.m.).

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