Without Drew Doughty in the lineup and a myriad of other injuries along the blueline, the LA Kings tapped into their organizational pipeline to fill the gaps in the homestretch of the regular season.

The team adopted the “next-man-up” mentality all year long, especially when the Kings lost their top pairing in the same game. Doughty was ruled out for the season, but Mikey Anderson returned with two games remaining in the regular season.

Certainly, there’s been some rust to shake off for the young defenseman, which came on the doorsteps of the Kings clinching their first postseason berth in four seasons.

Doughty’s absence was felt through the first three games against the Edmonton Oilers as the Kings were consistently outmuscled and, therefore, outplayed.

However, Anderson’s physicality was abundantly evident in Game 4.

“Any way that I can make it hard to play against,” the 22-year-old said after the Kings’ 4-0 win on Sunday. “Obviously, they got some really good offensive players. So you know, my game is to try and shut them down to the best I can, but part of that is trying to play physical [and] slow them down. You know, obviously, we’re gonna give something up at some point, but it’s trying to make them work for their chances, and we’re happy with the results tonight.”

Anderson tallied six hits on Sunday, a postseason high, and tied for the second-most all year, including the regular season. Despite taking two minor penalties, the Fridley, MN native finished with 20:26 TOI, nearly tied with Matt Roy and short of Sean Durzi, who tallied an even 21 minutes on Sunday.

Defensively, Anderson has been ahead of the curve developmentally, but he exhibited a new dimension in Game 4. He was seen getting into it with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, putting the Oilers forward into a headlock and taking him down to the ice.

In the third period, Anderson and Connor McDavid got into a scrum, with the former taking the Oilers superstar down as well. The Kings’ physical element kept Edmonton from playing their track-meet style of play, one that saw them completely dominate Games 2 and 3.

“It’s part of the game. Obviously, this time of year, you know both teams are going to bring it, so we did our best to try and match it and respond with our own physicality in whatever way that might be from guy to guy, but this time of the year, it’s part of the game and something we’re gonna look to keep doing,” Anderson said.

The young defenseman admitted that the Kings were tired of giving up “that many” goals, which likely played a role in their approach to Sunday’s pivotal Game 4. Los Angeles stuck to the identity that got them into the playoffs and added a little extra.

“I think if you watch all year, that’s something we’ve tried to do in the games that we’ve played well, and we’ve done that pretty well for the most part,” Anderson said of the Kings’ physical style of play. “The last couple of games, we got away from it a little bit, but, today, we had it for a complete game, and it comes with a good result when you can do it.”

Todd McLellan‘s group kept McDavid and Leon Draisaitl off the scoresheet for the first time this postseason, a formula they had success with in the team’s 5-1 win in Edmonton back in December.

In that game, the Kings were outhit 28-16, but they did an excellent job of not allowing shots to get through, blocking 19 shots to Edmonton’s ten. It also doesn’t hurt that LA scored three power-play goals, something that they have been able to just once on 15 opportunities through the first four games.

However, Sunday’s game saw the Kings kill off all three penalties after allowing Edmonton to convert on 5-of-11 leading up to Game 4. For the majority of the regular season, McLellan’s group was not very good on special teams, but they did an excellent job down the stretch, killing off 32-of-39 penalties in the final month.

“We’re happy with the job we did today,” Anderson concluded of the penalty kill. “We’ve been struggling against them, so it was nice to have a game where the PK came up big when it needed to. Quickie (Jonathan Quick) made some big saves when we needed him to, and we had some good blocked shots from forwards, D, and everyone.”

The LA Kings and Edmonton Oilers will resume play for Game 5 on Tuesday, with puck drop set for 7 pm PT.