The LA Kings edged the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of the series on Monday, but it was by no means pretty. Despite jumping out to a 2-0 advantage, penalties shifted the momentum back in the Oilers’ direction.
No matter how contentious the calls were, the fact of the matter is that the second period was littered with mistakes. The Kings were badly outshot 16-4 while committing four minor penalties, including a head-scratching too many men error on a delayed penalty call that would have sent Los Angeles to the power-play with 1:33 to go in the middle frame.
“The crackdown is evident, after watching Toronto play, then us play. and going back and reviewing the games, there’s a lot of penalties that are being called right now. We’re aware, but we’re going to have to be more aware,” head coach Todd McLellan said.
Instead, the two teams went into the final period notched at three goals apiece. With some help from Mike Smith, Phillip Danault‘s re-direction of Sean Durzi‘s shot from the point put the Kings ahead for good.
That said, Los Angeles needs to clean up the mistakes heading into Game 2.
The Kings can't win three more games playing like that, I don't think, but damn, that was an impressive effort.
Also, Jonathan Quick.
— Rich Hammond (@Rich_Hammond) May 3, 2022
“We checked fairly well, made some mistakes, went to the penalty box a little bit too much for anybody’s liking, especially against that type of power play, but for the most part we were able to check,” McLellan added.
As has generally been the theme all season, the Kings couldn’t get anything going on the power-play, going 0-for-4. The Oilers made their fair share of mistakes on Monday, but LA could not capitalize on the man advantage.
Nobody should expect Jonathan Quick to play like a Vezina candidate every game. He did in Game 1, but the defense did him no favors. No fault goes to Connor McDavid‘s goal – he does that to everyone. However, the Kings can’t be leaving Leon Draisaitl all alone in the slot.
The Oilers will be playing desperate on Wednesday. They cannot let the series shift to Los Angeles down 2-0. That said, the Kings’ identity carried them to a win in Game 1, and they can do it again.
But it looks like they might have to do so again without Viktor Arvidsson.
(Main photo credit: AP Photo)