"We just let it slip away": Desharnais on costly OT penalty in Oilers' loss

Apr 18 2023, 2:46 pm

The Edmonton Oilers were moments away from storming out of Rogers Place with a 1-0 series win last night.

But moments, of course, matter a million times more in the playoffs, and a series of key moments led to Edmonton eventually finding themselves on the wrong side of an embarrassing 4-3 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings on home ice.

It’s a cliché, but the Oilers really managed to snatch defeat away from the jaws of victory.

The Oilers first blew a 3-1 lead with under nine minutes to play in the third period (and a 3-2 lead in the game’s final minute), before a costly tripping penalty in overtime by Edmonton defenceman Vincent Desharnais ended up being the fatal blow, with LA’s Alex Iafollo scoring the overtime winner just 16 seconds into the Kings’ powerplay.

“We had the game in our hands. We just let it slip away,” Desharnais said after Monday’s loss. “We took too many penalties, and they just bury you at some point.”

Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft expressed that he didn’t quite think Desharnais’ penalty was warranted, as he felt LA’s Blake Lizotte fell on his own volition, although he seemed to accept the conclusion.

“My initial thought on the play was that the player stepped on the broken stick, but those are the things you know, that happen in the playoffs sometimes,” Woodcroft said postgame. “There are things that we did well, but in order to find a way to win, it’s got to be for the full 60 minutes.”

Even if Oilers fans were already queueing up “La Bamba” on their jukeboxes, the Kings contingent wasn’t exactly shaken by their team falling behind.

“We’ve played them enough to know that we can’t [panic],” Kings head coach Todd McLellan said after his team’s win. “Even when we were down by two, we couldn’t let it get to three. We had to check for our chances. Be patient. Use the clock as much as we could. And it worked out in our favour.”

If there’s any consolation for Oilers fans, it’s that there’s still plenty of time to turn the series around. And it appears the players themselves feel the same way.

“The third, we’ve got to lock it down,” said Oilers defenceman Matthias Ekholm. “That’s the playoffs. That stuff’s going to happen. It’s one game out of seven, so we’ll have to learn from it and move on. A new game on Wednesday.”

Puck drop is set for 7 pm PT/8 pm MT/10 pm ET on Wednesday night for Game 2 at Rogers Place.

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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