After a horrible Game 2 showing, the LA Kings hoped to come back strong on Friday in their first home playoff game since 2018. They didn’t; in fact, they played worse.
Relatively quickly, Leon Draisaitl found himself wide open on a 2-on-1 for an easy goal. Minutes later, Zach Hyman was unmarked for an easy redirect in the crease. This deflated the Kings and gave the Oilers a two-goal lead heading into the intermission.
It got even worse in the second period, with the Oilers scoring three unanswered to go up 5-0. Anze Kopitar broke the ice with a nifty backhand goal, and Phillip Danault followed it up with a power play marker, but the game was too far gone at that point.
Right place. Right time. 🚨
— LA Kings (@LAKings) May 7, 2022
The Oilers scored three more goals after that, with the final score ending in 8-2.
Although Quick started the game, he didn’t finish it, but in the end, it didn’t really matter who was in net if the Kings weren’t showing up to play.
Quick finished the game with 13 saves on 17 shots and a -1.98 GSAx, and his counterpart Cal Petersen, who was making his playoff debut, saved 16 of 20 with a -2.03 GSAx.
1. Pure domination in the last two games
Following an amazing effort in that Game 1 victory, the LA Kings looked like a team that could maybe put together a little bit of magic for a run.
Since then, they’re 0-2 and have been outscored 14-2, not really looking like they had a legitimate chance at any point in the game.
“That’s a big slap to the face,” Phillip Danault said in the post-game on the blowout. “There’s a lot of work to do, but we can do it.”
“We didn’t play good enough tonight, we didn’t play good enough last game. But we’re down 2-1 in the series, and we’re gonna do whatever we can to tie it up in the next game,” Alexander Edler said.
It’s great that the Kings believe they can do it, but it doesn’t really matter unless they show it on the ice, and they haven’t yet.
2. McLellan getting outcoached
Watching this series unfold, it’s clear that Todd McLellan has been completely outcoached by Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft.
McLellan has struggled to put together a competitive lineup without Arvidsson, plugging Iafallo and Athanasiou in the top-six, which hasn’t worked (although Iafallo played great in Game 1, he hasn’t been great since).
McLellan was evidently not happy with the team, as he finished his post-game media availability in 31 seconds total.
“We can do this really quick tonight, I can summarize it all up for you, and we can all go home. We weren’t any good. We’re really disappointed. We got trapped playing their game. You can ask me about individuals, they weren’t any good,” he said.
3. Sunday is a must-win
While the Kings can’t officially get eliminated if they lose Sunday’s Game 4, they might as well be because going down 3-1 in a series to two top-five players in the NHL is a death sentence.
The LA Kings will need to come out with tenacity from the puck drop and take advantage of the home-ice advantage if they want the opportunity to make it back there for a Game 6 in the future.
Otherwise, Sunday could be Dustin Brown‘s last game in LA.
(Main photo credit: Alex Cave / Hockey Royalty)