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Kings suffer another first round exit against Oilers with Game 6 loss

April 30, 2023, 7:22 PM ET [9 Comments]
Ben Shelley
Los Angeles Kings Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
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For the second year in a row, the Los Angeles Kings’ season has come to an end at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers.

Despite taking a 2-1 series lead, the Kings proceeded to drop three games in a row on route to their elimination, ending off with a 5-4 loss to the Oilers in Game 6 yesterday.


Los Angeles found themselves down pretty much right away, with Evan Bouchard finding Connor McDavid with a great pass for a redirect only a minute in. Edmonton then went on to get the bulk of the quality chances in the first half of the opening frame, but the Kings managed to tie the game eight minutes in, with Sean Durzi just throwing the puck on goal to slide it through Stuart Skinner. Only four minutes later though, Klim Kostin came in on a rush and beat Korpisalo with a well-placed wrist shot, putting the Oilers back ahead.

The second period, however, was defined by special teams. Los Angeles had the first power play chance of the game but after they couldn’t capitalize and then Alex Iafallo took a penalty, the Oilers took advantage on their opportunity, with Leon Draisaitl burying a great pass from Connor McDavid to make it a 3-1 game.

Only about a minute later though, the Oilers took another penalty and this time, the Kings capitalized on the ensuing power play, with Adrian Kempe beating Skinner with a perfect shot. Then just afterwards, Mattias Ekholm took a high-sticking penalty and once again, Los Angeles scored on the man advantage, as Kevin Fiala created a lane and put a perfect shot through traffic to tie the game.

Once again though, Edmonton took the lead right back, with Kostin scoring his second goal of the game only minutes later, burying a loose puck in the slot to make it a 4-3 game. So despite outshooting the Oilers 33-19 through 40 minutes, the Kings found themselves down by one through 40 minutes.

Los Angeles ended up getting an absolute gift in the third period though, with Skinner’s stick breaking when he went to play the puck and Phillip Danault scoring on the open net, tying the game. However, despite Los Angeles really limiting chances in the third period and seeming to hold momentum, Kailer Yamamoto just threw the puck on net with three minutes to go in the period and it found its way in through a crowd, putting the Oilers back ahead late. The Kings tried to press to tie it up once again but the Oilers held on from there, taking Game 6, as well as the series.


Los Angeles did about as much as they could to get the win, outshooting Edmonton 44-26 and going 2-for-3 on the power play. But despite taking steps this season and proving they were a better team than last year, unfortunately, so were the Oilers.

Looking at the series overall, the Kings were arguably outplayed through the first three games (even if not by a massive margin), but were without their top forward for that stretch. Then despite outplaying Edmonton in Game 4, they blew a huge lead and that turned out to be the turning point of the series. From there, Game 5 was the Kings’ only really poor outing of the playoffs, and while they deserved a better fate in Game 6, they just couldn’t get the job done.

At the end of the day, even if you limit penalties, allowing a goal more than 50 per cent of the time you’re shorthanded will be tough to overcome. The Oilers were almost automatic on the man advantage, going 9-for-16 on the power play, and it was a difference-maker.

The difficulty is I don’t think there were a ton of clear issues for the Kings in the loss. Most of their top players did show up and Joonas Korpisalo wasn’t the problem either. There were a lot of playoff teams in the West the Kings probably would’ve gotten past, they just came up short in a close series. They were a well-constructed team, who ran up against another well-constructed team very early on. It also ended up being one of the most entertaining playoff matchups that I’ve seen over the last number of years.

Despite an early exit, the Kings have solidified themselves as a threat in the West, which wasn’t necessarily the case a year ago. It’s going to be interesting to see where the team goes from here, as they try to continue improving, but without a ton of cap space to do so.

I’ll have a season recap article out in the coming days.



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OTHER ARTICLES FROM APRIL

Kings end road trip with back-to-back wins, clinch playoff spot
Kings come up short in another key showdown against Oilers
Looking at different playoff scenarios for the Kings after recent slide
Kings at risk of slipping to wild card spot amidst three-game losing streak
Breaking down the playoff picture in West before Kings’ 82nd game
Kings lock up third place in Pacific, will face Oilers in first round
Previewing the Kings’ first round series against the Oilers
Kings battle back from two-goal deficit in Game 1, defeat Oilers in OT
Kings erase another two-goal deficit but fall to Oilers in Game 2
Kings take series lead with Game 3 OT win over Oilers
Kings miss opportunity, blow 3-goal lead in Game 4 for OT loss to Oilers
Kings on brink of elimination after tough loss to Oilers in Game 5
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