Kings take series lead after Oilers penalty in overtime

Apr 22 2023, 5:24 am

Connor McDavid had himself a game, but it wasn’t enough for the Edmonton Oilers.

While the Oilers captain scored a pair of goals, the LA Kings came away with the 3-2 overtime win on Friday, putting them up 2-1 in the series after three games.

Trevor Moore scored the overtime winner on the power play with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the penalty box. The goal went under a lengthy review for a potential high stick from Gabe Vilardi but was eventually confirmed.

“Everyone’s talking ‘high-flying Oilers,’ this and that, but I think we deserve some credit,” Kings defenceman Drew Doughty said post-game to Sportsnet’s Scott Oake. “We haven’t played our best hockey yet, but as good as they are, we have a lot of confidence in our team.”

With the Oilers trailing after the first period, McDavid turned on the heat, opening his 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs account with a pair of goals less than two minutes apart. Yet, Leon Draisaitl picked up a penalty in the aftermath of the second goal, allowing LA’s Adrian Kempe to score the 2-2 tying goal on the ensuing power play.

On the overtime winner, McDavid said post-game that it was a missed high-sticking call.

Early in the first period, Darnell Nurse got tangled up with Viktor Arvidsson, yet the officials called a major penalty on the play; and reviewed the call at Nurse’s suggestion before overturning their initial decision and awarding a two-minute minor. 

Alex Iafallo had the opener for the Kings with 23 seconds remaining in the first, after a physical and tight-checking affair to that point, yet McDavid erased that deficit. 

While the Oilers weren’t able to secure the victory, McDavid’s emergence in the series is critical for them moving forward after the Kings held him out of the goal-scoring through the first two games.

The NHL’s scoring leader during the regular season had an assist in Game 2 but hadn’t been able to get past Kings netminder Joonas Korpisalo on his 11 shots through the opening pair of contests. Head coach Jay Woodcroft kept his same lines in Game 3, proving fruitful for McDavid, who was back to his regular self, weaving through the opposing defence and scoring goals.

Korpisalo stopped 38 of Edmonton’s 40 shots in Game 3, while Edmonton’s Stuart Skinner made 28 saves.

McDavid had seven shots on Friday with his two goals.

Despite Edmonton posting more shots for the third time in the series, the Kings saw themselves to a win on home ice with Will Ferrell in the crowd. 

“I was standing over by the refs, and I was praying, doing everything I could. I was jittery; I just did not want that called back,” Doughty said of the overtime goal review. “That was a battle by both teams, I don’t think we needed another period.”

While the Kings needed a lengthy review on their winning goal, officiating was a focus throughout the night. Draisaitl’s second-period penalty leading to the Iafallo goal came on a slashing call, prompting frustration from the Edmonton forward.

“You don’t call a clear knee on knee right in front of you, and then you call a slashing penalty, which is not smart on my part, I know that,” he said. “[We] just don’t really know where the standard is right now.”

With the 2-1 series lead, the Kings will look to grab a two-game advantage when they take the Oilers in Game 4 on Sunday night.

Ben SteinerBen Steiner

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