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Playoff Game 4: Oilers @ Kings - Stay Relentless

May 8, 2022, 7:21 PM ET [11 Comments]
Sean Maloughney
Edmonton Oilers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
If the Edmonton Oilers are playing their best hockey they will beat the LA Kings. That has been evident in each game this series. The Oilers ran around without structure in game 1 and made far too many errors which led to their first game loss. In games 2 and 3, Edmonton played a far more structured game and the Kings just did not have an answer. The results have been 6-0 and 8-2 victories for the Northern Alberta team.

Now it is the LA Kings who are scrambling without an answer to how to deal with the Oilers. When I say the Oilers I truly mean the whole team and not just McDavid and Draisaitl.

The new adds for this season in Hyman and Kane have both been stellar, scoring big goals for the Oilers at 5 on 5. When the Oilers were up 5-1 on Friday night, four of the goals scored were by those players. Add into the mix Evan Bouchard who is second among defense scoring with 5 points, and of course McDavid and Draisaitl and the Oilers have some dominant offensive output.

What do the LA Kings do in net tonight? Jonathan Quick has now allowed 10 goals in 2 games and was pulled after allowing 4 goals on 17 shots. Cal Petersen who came in in relief didn't fair any better however, allowing 4 goals on 20 shots. It's hard to fault those goalies on some of the goals but their netminders aren't making the grade A saves to try and help their team ease into the game.

It may sound obvious but the key to the Oilers winning against the LA Kings is to score first. If LA scores first they will bunker down and commit to their trap defensive game that we have seen the Oilers struggle with. If Edmonton scores first than the Kings will be forced to take more offensive risks which in turn will give the Oil more chances to capitalize.

Cody Ceci had a brilliant game three and continues to be a solid add who can solidify the defense on a top pair. Nurse is starting to find his game legs as well and has improved with every game. Each of the Oilers pairings have played some great hockey, even in LA where they may get less favorable matchups.

One area I still have a complaint with is the Oilers bottom six. This group is still getting caved in shots for/against and hasn't performed well against the Kings bottom six forwards, let alone their top six. It does not appear that there will be any changes to the lineup tonight but I think it's something Woodcroft should monitor and keep a close eye on moving forward, regardless on whether or not the Oilers win.

Speaking of staying disciplined it may sound whiny to complain about penalties in an 8-2 victory but game management was in full effect for large portions of that game. It felt like the refs were hesitant to award the Oilers any powerplay in the middle portion of the game while the Kings received many. The Kings were not that much more disciplined than the Oil but the special teams did not show it. In the past we have seen the refs tilt the ice more in favor of the team that received fewer calls and I wonder if we will see that tonight.

Luckily the combination of the Kings lackluster powerplay and the Oilers aggressive PK has given Edmonton a huge special teams edge. Right now McLellan doesn't seem to have any response to the units Edmonton puts out.

Now is a good time to talk about Scoring Chances for vs High Danger Scoring Chances for. While the LA Kings had 38 scoring chances for versus the Oilers 35, the High Danger Chances for highly favored the Edmonton Oilers going 20-10 against the Kings. LA was firing shots from all angles in Game 3 but there were very few of those chances that were actually in danger of going in. Will the Kings continue this strategy going into tonight's game or will we see them deploy fewer shots, searching more for that Grade A chance?

A win tonight gives the Oilers a huge boost of confidence and the opportunity to close things out Tuesday on home ice but emotions must be tempered tonight with those thoughts put out of mind. The game in front of them needs to be the focus.

I hope everyone enjoys the game tonight!
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