Kailer Yamamoto might’ve not had the best performance of his life in the first round of the playoffs for the Edmonton Oilers, but he definitely made it a memorable one.
Demoted out of the team’s bottom six and playing just 11:26 in a pivotal Game 6 against the Los Angeles Kings, Yamamoto showed up when it mattered and scored the series-clinching goal with a flick of his wrist in the third period.
“A lot of people look at the Oilers and think it’s a two- or three-man team — it’s not at all, couldn’t be further from that at all. Up and down the lineup, we’ve got contributions,” Edmonton captain Connor McDavid said postgame.
Circling around the left-side faceoff dot in the Kings’ zone, Yamamoto fired a shot to LA’s goal and past hapless goalie Joonas Korpisalo to give Edmonton a 5-4 lead with 3:02 left in the third period.
KAILER YAMAMOTO WITH THE SERIES CLINCHING GOAL! 🍠 #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/wfNv0c0TWM
— NHL (@NHL) April 30, 2023
And asked postgame if he ever envisioned scoring such a big goal in the playoffs, Yamamoto said it wasn’t really something that had crossed his mind as a realistic possibility.
“Honestly, no,” Yamamoto said. “It’s pretty crazy, playing against them last year… you think about it, you get your hopes up for it, but I never really thought [that it’d be me]. But thank goodness it went in.”
Yamamoto came into Saturday’s Game 6 with zero points in his first five games in the series but picked up an assist earlier in the game with an assist on one of Klim Kostin’s two goals for Edmonton to give the Oilers a 4-3 lead late in the third period.
“Once we were buzzing around in the offensive zone, I knew something good was going to happen,” Yamamoto added. “I got a great net front. I think there was like two or three bodies there. Just shot it, and thankfully it went in.”
The Oilers will be taking on the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round of the NHL playoffs, with the schedule for the series likely to drop at some point today or tomorrow.
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