FINAL – Kings 1, Oilers 3 – Walker, Arvidsson, McLellan

In another tight-checking game, the LA Kings came up on the wrong end of a 3-1 final margin against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday evening at Arena.

Forward Viktor Arvidsson scored his team’s lone goal, midway through the third period, as he reached the 25-goal mark for the first time as a member of the Kings and the fourth time in his NHL career. Goaltender Pheonix Copley made 30 saves on 32 shots between the pipes in defeat.

The first period featured four total power plays and just five combined shots on goal, as the Kings didn’t cede a shot on net at even strength.

Edmonton opened the scoring during the second period, on their third power play of the evening, through forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Forward Leon Draisaitl took advantage of space on the right-wing boards and fed through the slot to Nugent-Hopkins in the left-hand circle, where he beat Copley on the glove side for his 36th goal of the season and the 1-0 advantage. Edmonton’s power-play goal was its first in the regular season versus the Kings since December 5, 2021.

The Kings evened the score at one midway through the first period through Arvidsson, who buried his 25th goal of the season. Along the right-wing boards, defenseman Sean Walker pinched to keep a play alive, with the puck deflecting to forward Trevor Moore. Moore then fed Arvidsson for a one-timer at the center point, which he hammed through traffic, past Edmonton netminder Stuart Skinner and in for the game-tying goal.

The Oilers pushed back with another power-play goal, however, to re-take a one-goal advantage. Skating 5-on-4, Copley made the initial save on forward Connor McDavid, but Draisaitl crashed in from the right-hand circle and buried the rebound for his 51st goal of the season and a 2-1 advantage.

Defenseman Darnell Nurse iced the game with an empty netter, off the boards from near his own goal line, for an insurance goal that sealed the deal.

Hear from Walker, Arvidsson and Head Coach Todd McLellan following tonight’s game.

Sean Walker

Viktor Arvidsson
On if he felt tonight’s game was similar to the one in Edmonton
I’m not sure, they had the puck a lot and I think we defended well, but it came down to a power-play goal, that’s what it came down to.

On if he feels there’s anything, offensively, that’s lacking as a group, minus the finishing
I think we should play a little bit more with the puck, but also we have to defend. We’ve had chances to score and we’ve got to bear down on them. It’s a little bit of both, I think.

On if he feels the Kings and Oilers are evenly matched teams
Yeah, I think so. I think we play a little bit differently, both teams, it’s always tight and low scoring. We’ve got to keep an eye on that and try to score more goals than them.

Todd McLellan
On any frustration with playing well at 5-on-5 again, but coming up short
I think, one they’re really good hockey club, so we have to acknowledge that and they’ve made some changes that have improved their team. So, frustration is going to be part of the game and we have to channel it a little bit better. Our special teams have to be better against theirs. This game was very reminiscent to the one in Edmonton. We got more to the net in Edmonton and probably had more scoring chances in Edmonton, but the team that scores first has a huge advantage. [In] Edmonton, the first one was near the end of the period, we were actually checking well and then the shorthanded one really cost us, so we lost the special teams in that situation. Here, our penalty kill did a pretty good job, but both of their goals were on clearing attempts that we weren’t successful on. 32 or 35 percent power plays make you pay for that and they did tonight.

On if the power-play tonight was about a lack of execution or a lack of personnel
It’s not a lack of personnel, we just didn’t execute well.

On what he feels could be lacking offensively
You know, it’s funny because when teams check hard against us, that’s what it feels like when we’re doing it to the other team. It can be a taste of your own medicine and that’s how we’ve played these last five games, in my opinion, Calgary, Edmonton, Seattle, Vancouver, Edmonton. They’re all tight-checking, there’s not a lot of space and when we’ve been able to win the special teams battle and get that first goal, it makes a world of difference. The games we weren’t successful in, we didn’t do that, so there’s a bit of a recipe there. The frustration part is because guys want to want to win, they’re not just along for the ride. We can do a better job of channeling it and we will.

On Rasmus Kupari’s game tonight
I thought he had good legs and you need legs to fight through some of the checking. He was skating well, he’s a good skater, so we tried some different things, some different combinations. This was the seventh game in 11 nights for our team. I thought we we were working hard but the gas tanks weren’t quite where they need to be, so it’s something we also have to consider as we move forward, making sure we got the right rest.

On if these tight games, with guys out, give the team confidence heading into the playoffs
That could be the case. If we meet them in the playoffs, or whoever we play in the playoffs, we could be without those guys and three more, so it really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t. I know you guys want to ask me and I want to tell you, yeah it’d be great, but the lesson we learned last year is it doesn’t matter who’s out, it matters who’s in.

On the intangibles the group has going right now
I think all of those intangibles that you can’t open up the newspaper and read are at a fairly high point with our team right now. The focus is there, the attention to detail is there quite a bit, the drive to win, the game management, we’re in a good spot. We have to continue to build on that and make sure that we’re keeping our gas tanks full.

Notes –
– Viktor Arvidsson scored his 25th goal of the season for his second point in as many games (0-1-1 on Apr. 2 at VAN). Arvidsson reached the 25-goal mark for the first time with the Kings organization and the fourth time in his professional career.
– Trevor Moore collected his 18th assist of the year with the lone helper on Arvidsson’s goal. Moore and forward Anze Kopitar led the Kings with four shots on goal in the game.
– Goaltender Pheonix Copley made 30 saves in defeat, the fourth time this season he’s made 30-or-more saves and the first time since January 27 in Florida.
– Tonight marked the 15th time from 16 games after the trade deadline that a Kings goaltender has allowed two-or-fewer goals in a game.
– Defenseman Drew Doughty led all skaters with 27:31 in time-on-ice, while Phillip Danault led the forwards at 20:45.

The Kings are scheduled to practice tomorrow at 11 AM at Toyota Sports Performance Center, before departing for Vegas later in the day.

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