The Los Angeles Kings put on a stingy performance to score a 3-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers in a chippy game Wednesday night at Rogers Place.
“It was reminiscent of the playoffs last year,” Oilers forward Zach Hyman said.
“It was a hard-fought divisional game between two teams that played a playoff series last year, so there’s a lot of history there,” Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft said. “It was a hard-fought game and we ended up on the wrong side of it.”
The Kings took the lead before the game was five minutes old when Trevor Moore fired a long slapper past the blocker of Oilers netminder Stuart Skinner.
“That kind of game script fit right into their game,” Connor McDavid said. “They score early and then just sit back and hold on. We would’ve liked to get off to a better start.”
“That allowed them to sit back and try to dare us to turn pucks over,” Woodcroft said after allowing the first goal.
McDavid nearly tied it. His shot got past Kings goaltender Cal Petersen and fluttered toward the net, but Los Angeles forward Viktor Arvidsson swatted it away just before it crossed the goal line.
“Starting on time is something we’ve talked about,” Hyman said. “It makes a huge difference statistically, being the team that scores first.”
Kings defenceman Alex Edler sent McDavid tumbling with a hard check at the blue line early in the second.
Edler was slapped with a kneeing penalty on the play. McDavid was called for cross-checking Edler later in the period.
“It’s one of those plays where you beat a defenceman and he sticks a knee out,” Hyman said post-game. “It’s a dangerous play and I mentioned earlier it’s happened to me. Same play, same guy. Obviously, I’m not happy with it.”
“I don’t really have anything to add,” McDavid said when asked about the hit after the game.
The Oilers tied it when defenceman Ryan Murray held in a Kings clearing attempt and worked the puck in front to Zach Hyman, who beat Petersen with a backhand for his eighth.
Moore struck again just as another penalty to McDavid expired to make it 2-1 Kings.
“We didn’t produce enough zone time and they’re a very strong defensive team and sacrifice a lot to get into lanes,” Darnell Nurse said. “We want to get that offensive zone time where we’re wearing teams down and getting pucks to the net and we didn’t have enough of that tonight.”
Skinner kept the Oilers within one in the third with a stop on a wide-open Phillip Danault. Moore completed the hat trick with an empty-net goal with 53 seconds left.
The Kings outshot the Oilers 32-23.
The Oilers (9-8) will host the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday. You can listen to live coverage of the game on 630 CHED, beginning with The Faceoff Show at 6:30 p.m. The actual game starts at 8 p.m.
With files from Brendan Escott, 630 CHED.