LOS ANGELES It was so close to being the right script at the right time for the Kings: a show of resilience, rallying from a two-goal deficit and better power play and shorthanded performances.
But in the end, their first shot to eliminate the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the playoffs just missed. The Oilers survived with defenseman Tyson Barries’ goal late in the third period, then added an empty net to defeat the Kings, 4-2, in Game 6 Thursday night at the arena formerly known as Staples Center .
1. In case anyone wasn’t quite sure of the state of the streak, Oilers forward Evander Kane updated the crowd after his empty net.
Evander Kane scores on the empty net and lets LA fans know the series is down to seven pic.twitter.com/BCHw2nH8Kp
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) May 13, 2022
Indeed, the best-of-seven series is tied at three games apiece. Game 7 is in Edmonton on Saturday night.
Kane, in fact, clarified that he was not referring to the seven goals he scored in the series.
2. You will see many stats associated with Game 7 in the next 48 hours. But here are some openings from NHL Stats. The Kings are 7-4 all-time in Game 7 and have won their last four games.
Where did you go Mr. Game 7 aka Justin Williams? Kings Nation turns its lonely eyes on you.
3. Once upon a time, the Kings played 7 games with regularity. They were forced to play Game 7 in the first three rounds against San Jose, Anaheim and Chicago en route to the Stanley Cup championship in 2014. They only needed five games against the New York Rangers in final.
Eight years, however, is a long time ago.
The older guys haven’t been there for a few years, and we have a few guys who haven’t experienced this at all,” Kings captain Anze Kopitar said. It’s natural. But if you told us that we have to win a game to advance, we will certainly take advantage of it.
It’s not so bad. Were going to fly up there and get ready for Game 7.
He also addressed the slow start, saying, “Maybe the idea of ending the series kind of slipped into our minds, and we started off a bit with hesitation and credit. They obviously got off to a good start.
4. Kings coach Todd McLellan was also on the post.
Assessing Game 6, he said it was ultimately a dress rehearsal.
McLellan added: Well, let it be another two days. We have enough experience. Guys who’ve been through that before, and I talked about pressure this morning.
We liked this location. If someone said, Hey, Los Angeles Kings vs. Edmonton Oilers, go play for a game.
We weren’t particularly happy with how we got there tonight. But we can’t do anything about it now. So let’s look ahead. We have already won there. We can win again.
5. For Barrie, it was his first playoff goal since April 2019, dating back to when he was with the Colorado Avalanche, breaking a 19-game playoff drought. What led up to the goal was not a good look for Kings forward Andreas Athanasiou. He can produce electrifyingly and then have moments like this:
– Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 13, 2022
6. Connor McDavid played big minutes, a game-high 24:02, and had a three-point night, scoring once and adding two assists, including the game-winning secondary pass. His wraparound goal, just 1:40 into the game, set the tone for the Oilers.
Psychologically, they got what they wanted, McLellan said. Then a huge mistake on our part on the winning goal. It is avoidable. It’s preventable and we did it. But that’s why we play the game. Someone will make mistakes and the other teams will benefit.
When you have these offensive weapons available to them, you need to minimize them.
7. Game 6 reminded McLellan of Game 1 which the Kings won 4-3 in Edmonton.
There was nothing unbalanced in the game, he said. Our quarterback/receiver connection wasn’t where it needed to be. It was erratic. Obviously, when we were going to pass, the passer was not really clean and the receiver sometimes mishandled the puck.
When we do that, we go back to Games 2 and 3 where we didn’t pass the puck well. Were not a real good offensive juggernaut when that happens. It was a big part of the game tonight.
— HockeyStatCards (@hockeystatcards) May 13, 2022
8. Kings defenseman Matt Roy spoke of the frustration of getting closer but immediately having to move on.
It’s the only thing you can do, he said. If you sit and dwell on it, it’s just going to bring in negative energy. So you can feel it right now, but everyone has to get past it quickly and be ready to go.
9. The Kings’ goals came from defenseman Sean Durzi, who scored his first playoff goal on the power play, and forward Carl Grundstrom. It was Grundstrom’s third postseason goal and he also provided his usual physical component, leading the Kings with five hits.
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) May 13, 2022
ten. Kopitar said the playoffs were a continuation of how young players have intensified over the season.
They know what it takes, he says. So I’m not worried about that at all. I think everyone is a very important part of the bigger picture. We all have to play our best if we want to win hockey games.
It showed throughout six games and I’m sure it won’t be any different on Saturday. Again, I have the confidence, get ready, get up there and throw everything we have.
11. One more highlight. Here’s a generational McDavid player’s nightly appreciation.
— Hockey Daily 365 (@HockeyDaily365) May 13, 2022
12. And for something completely different, the vocal cords of a certain Adrian Kempe.
— Eric (@kingsgifs2) May 13, 2022
I’m sure at least one Kings fan will use it as their new ringtone.
(Top photo: Harry How/Getty Images)
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