Game 4 Takeaways: LA Kings 4, Oilers 5 (OT) – Series-Changing Loss
Despite leading 3-0 in the first period and again late in the game, the LA Kings dropped Game 4 to the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.
LAK – Gabriel Vilardi (2), Assists: Kevin Fiala (1), Alex Iafallo (1)
LAK – Viktor Arvidsson (1), Assists: Trevor Moore (2), Phillip Danault (2)
LAK – Anze Kopitar (2) (Power Play), Assists: Kevin Fiala (2), Adrian Kempe (2)
EDM – Evan Bouchard (2) (Power Play), Assists: Leon Draisaitl (4), Connor McDavid (2)
EDM – Leon Draisaitl (4), Assists: Connor McDavid (3), Zach Hyman (2)
EDM – Leon Draisaitl (5) (Power Play), Assists: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (3), Evan Bouchard (4)
LAK – Matt Roy (1), Assists: Viktor Arvidsson (4), Phillip Danault (3)
EDM – Evander Kane (2), Assists: Connor McDavid (4), Mattias Ekholm (1)
EDM – Zach Hyman (1), Assists: Evan Bouchard (5)
A few takeaways from the LA Kings’ Game 4 loss in plus/minus form:
+ The Fiala Effect
In his first game back from injury, Kevin Fiala led an emotionally-charged first period, one that saw the Kings score three times. Fiala helped to open the scoring, with his initial shot attempt buried by Gabe Vilardi. Later in the period, he collected a primary assist on Kopitar’s goal.
Kevin Fiala (0-2—2) has factored on two goals in his first career playoff game with @LAKings. He can become the first player to record three assists in his postseason debut with the franchise. #StanleyCup #NHLStats: https://t.co/8nz8bPCSUJ pic.twitter.com/vZ1MNcGqEn
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 24, 2023
– Disastrous Second Period
What the heck was that? A three-goal lead, especially given how this series ended last year, should be more than enough motivation to put away the Oilers. Instead, the Kings sat back and allowed Edmonton to climb their way back into the game. First, on Evan Bouchard’s powerplay blast after a sustained offensive zone presence. Then two straight from Draisaitl, who has killed Los Angeles in this series.
– Kings 4th Line
The Kings fourth line continues to be an eye sore. Arthur Kaliyev hasn’t played since Game 2, and with Blake Lizotte‘s injury, Los Angeles received nothing from their fourth line on Sunday. Todd McLellan double shifted Fiala with Grundstrom and Kupari in the second period, hoping to get them going. The Kings shortened their bench in the third, with Grundstrom getting just one shift; Kupari and JAD didn’t see the ice.
– Atrocious Tripping Call
Los Angeles was already in full meltdown mode, and the horrible tripping call that led to Draisaitl’s second goal of the night just seconds before the end of the second period was the cherry on top of what was a terrible second period for the Kings.
Fiala call was pathetic. An absolute joke.
— Paul Bissonnette (@BizNasty2point0) April 24, 2023
+ Roy To The Rescue
Roy had a really nice play in the second period, driving hard toward the net from the right wing, a microcosm of his regular season. The LA Kings defenseman tapped into another level of his offense, potting a career-high nine goals to go along with 17 assists. On his goal, once Nurse fell down in the neutral zone, that left Roy all alone in support of the rush up-ice. It was a great pass by Arvidsson to find Roy through a narrow seam and even better goal by Roy to put the Kings back in front.
MATTY ROY PUTS US BACK ON TOP pic.twitter.com/EMcjMRMrzP
— x – LA Kings (@LAKings) April 24, 2023
– Kane Cashes In
After Roy scored, the Kings played like a team with a lead. They kept the gas pedal down, something they should have done in the second period. However, Edmonton swung the momentum in the final few minutes, with Kane wristing the game-tying goal through traffic.
+ Massive Penalty Kill In OT
With Kempe called for cross-checking in the extra session, the Kings were forced to keep the high-powered Oilers powerplay from winning it. Korpisalo came up big and the Kings blocked several shots, killing off what was, at the time, a massive penalty.
– Series Tied
I’m sorry, but anytime you have a 3-0 lead after the first period, there is no excuse for allowing that game to be tied. The Kings let their foot off the gas pedal in the second period, and the dominoe effect allowed the Oilers to tie it after 40 minutes. It was nice to see Roy temporarily give them the lead back, but Los Angeles failed to close it out. There’s a massive difference, mentality, heading back to Edmonton with a 3-1 lead versus the series being tied. Not impossible by any means, but remember that game if the Kings ultimately drop this series.
(Featured Image Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)