R1, G6 Final – Kings 4, Oilers 5 – Danault, Kopitar, Doughty, McLellan

The LA Kings saw their season come to an end in six games, following a 5-4 defeat in Game 6 on Saturday evening at Crypto.com Arena.

The Kings were led by a three-point night from forward Kevin Fiala (1-2-3), while forward Viktor Arvidsson had two assists in the defeat. Forwards Phillip Danault and Adrian Kempe, as well as defenseman Sean Durzi, scored on the night, while goaltender Joonas Korpisalo made 21 saves between the pipes.

Edmonton opened the scoring less than two minutes into the game through forward Connor McDavid, who collected his third goal of the series. McDavid worked his way to the front of the net and redirected a shot from the right point by defenseman Evan Bouchard, past Korpisalo and in, for the game-opening goal.

The Kings pushed back, however, to knot the score at one via Durzi’s first goal of the series. The Kings entered the offensive zone off the rush, with Fiala feeding Durzi in the left-hand circle. With heavy traffic in front of Edmonton netminder Stuart Skinner, the LA blueliner fired a low shot that found its way through to tie the game at one.

The Oilers restored their advantage heading into the first intermission, however, as forward Klim Kostin buried his second goal of the series to push the visitors ahead 2-1. Kostin took a pass from forward Ryan McLeod in the neutral zone, gained the offensive blueline through the center lane and snapped a shot through a screen and past Korpisalo for his second goal of the series.

Just over four minutes into the second period, the Oilers got on the board again with their first power-play goal of the game, their ninth of the series. McDavid found forward Leon Draisaitl with a seam pass through the slot and the German buried a one-timer for his series-leading seventh goal and a 3-1 advantage.

With a pair of power-play goals, the Kings worked their way back even in a span of less than two minutes.

First, Kempe extended his point streak to six games with his fifth goal of the series. Stationed in the right-hand circle, Kempe took a feed from Fiala, collected and snapped a wrist shot past Skinner on the glove side for a 3-2 score. The Kings buried again just 100 seconds later through Fiala, who picked up his third point of the evening. From the top of the left-hand circle, Fiala sent a shot through traffic and past Skinner for his first playoff goal as a member of the Kings, tying the game at three in the process.

The visitors once again answered, however, as Kostin buried his second goal of the game for a 4-3 advantage. The Kings turned the puck over in the defensive zone and after a rebound off a shot from forward Kailer Yamamoto, Kostin was on hand in the slot to put the visitors back on top with his third goal of the series.

Just shy of eight minutes into the third period, the Kings tied the game at four with a shorthanded goal off a wild sequence. After the Kings got a full-ice clear, Skinner misplayed the puck in front of his own goal, directly to Danault, who slotted home his second goal of the series to knot the score at four goals apiece.

With 3:02 left in regulation, Edmonton found another goal from their bottom six for the game-winning and series-winning goal. After an extended shift in the offensive zone, forward Kailer Yamamoto spun and shot through traffic, evanding all bodies in front, including Korpisalo, for his first goal of the series and the final score of 5-4.

Hear from Anze Kopitar, Phillip Danault, Drew Doughty and Todd McLellan following tonight’s season-ending defeat.

Phillip Danault

Anze Kopitar
On the differences in tonight’s Game 6
Little things, obviously. Effort certainly was there, energy was there, can’t fault any of the guys for not bringing the energy and the intensity. It was just small things that didn’t quite connect throughout the game. Obviously, they played a solid game and they were the better team in the series. It’s a hard pill to swallow right now, but I’m sure we’re going to take away something from this one, learn and move forward.

On if he felt the gap was closer this year, despite the series ending in six not seven
Yeah. I mean last year, a lot of the guys didn’t know what the playoffs were all about. This year, we had guys that had experience, not a ton of it, but at least a little bit. This is a step again towards the right direction. Learning from last year’s series, this year’s series and like I said, keep moving forward and keep building the team chemistry, the momentum, the whatever you want to call it and obviously look into next year.

On if he felt the gap was closer this year, despite the series ending in six not seven
Yeah. I mean, last year, a lot of the guys didn’t know what the playoffs were all about. This year, we had guys that had experience, not a ton of it, but at least a little bit. This is a step again towards the right towards the right direction. Learning from last year’s series, this year’s series and like I said, keep moving forward and keep building the team chemistry, the momentum the whatever you want to call it and obviously look into next year.

Drew Doughty
On his takeaways from the 60 minutes tonight
We played hard the whole game. We didn’t execute great in the first, but in the second and third we were pretty good. It’s unfortunate, we just gave up too many goals.

On the team’s resiliency tonight and throughout the series
We don’t ever quit in here. We’re a team that likes to grind, that never gives up, that’s one good thing about us, the passion to always come back and always play your hardest, no matter what the score is.

On the difference in the game tonight
We gave up too many chances. Korpi had to make a lot of big saves in the first especially. I thought in the second and third, we were really good. Playoffs isn’t always about who dominates the game, it’s who has the hotter goalie a lot of the time and whoever gets the bounces. Unfortunately, we didn’t get them tonight.

On the takeaways from this series against Edmonton, as a whole
I’m sure if we both make the playoffs next year we’ll see them again. We’re not going to forget this moment. I think that if we really played the way we can, we would have taken it to Game 7 if we played all of the games like that, but we didn’t. We have to move on past it and learn what we did wrong and come back stronger next year.

Todd McLellan
On the difference tonight and in the final three games in this series
You can look at the 16 against, but we scored a lot of goals ourselves too. So, the difference was one goal a night, other than Game 5, they’re all one-goal games and we ended up on the wrong end of it. Our identity and our structure that we hang our hat on, it didn’t shine through in the last couple of games and it needed to. You get two power-play goals and a shorthanded goal against a team like that you should probably come away with the win and we didn’t.

On his takeaways of the team’s resiliency in the series and closing the gap from last year
It’s a great sign that the team, the organization, has that resilience and that fight in them and you can take solace in that a little bit. But, you’ve also got to look on the other side of the coin, you can’t put yourself in that situation. Our team, our organization, has done a really good job of getting to this point. We have some steps to take now and some lessons to learn. This team that we played two years in a row isn’t going anywhere, they’re going stay in our division and for us to move forward to get to where we want to go, we’re probably going to have to play them again and again and again. We’re going to have to find ways to beat them. So, another good lesson, I think we’ve closed the gap, I really do, I think we were better this year than we were last year, we should be, we have more experience. We added some pieces that made us better, our power play was better, but it’s still not good enough. So we’ve got to, everybody from the coaching staff through the players, the organization, has to take full accounting of their areas and look at what we can do better and how we can push. I also think Edmonton did the same thing, they’re a better team this year than they were last year. That’s what good teams do, they keep moving forward. I don’t think we should hang our heads, I think we should reflect and build.

On what frustrated him tonight, defensively
It’s rare that we give up four even-strength goals, it’s rare that we do that as a team and to do it in a game that meant that much. The situations that arose, on their first goal, they scored off a faceoff play. It’s a little bit later and we’re prepared for that play. The 2-on-2, our gap is horrendous, but that also tells me the opposition is prepared to take advantage of mistakes and when we made them, they capitalized. That’s an area that we have to continue to work on. That’s who we are, we’re good defensively, we’re committed to it but we didn’t get the job done.

On how the takeaways after this season’s Game 6 differ from a point message after last year’s Game 7
Sean Walker was the only player that didn’t have playoff experience and that was due to injury. Last year, you you don’t necessarily ever get a free pass, but you get to experience it. We have players, obviously, that were disappointed, that had better playoff series last year than they did this year and that can be young or old. We have to look at why and how and decide whether those individuals are going to be able to adjust to play at this time of the year, but that’s what that’s what good teams do, that’s what the good organizations do. They evaluate everything. Coaches need to be evaluated, the players need to and we’ll do that as an organization and we’ll come out at the back end better.

On any standout players during the series, over the course of the six games
Well, it was a roller coaster really, I can give different names every night and that’s probably why we didn’t win, is that as guys took it up, they kind of fell off a little bit. I think when you look at Adrian Kempe, where he’s come from and what he’s doing now, he can play in any type of game. You want to be big, heavy, physical, fast, skilled, he’s an all-around player that can play in any type of series. For me, he had an impact. I thought Alex Iafallo played a real good series on both sides of the puck. Then there’s some others at the back end but I’m not sharing that with you guys, I’ve got to talk to them.

Notes –
– Sean Durzi (1-0-1) scored his first goal of the series for his second career playoff goal. Durzi becomes the fourth defenseman from the 2018 NHL Draft to score multiple career postseason goals, joining Evan Bouchard (5), K’Andre Miller (2), and Quinn Hughes (2).
– Adrian Kempe (1-0-1) scored his team-leading fifth goal of the playoffs. Only three players have scored more goals that Kempe this postseason: Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl (7), Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen (6) and NY Ranger’s Chris Kreider (6). Kempe had points in all six games throughout the series.
– Kevin Fiala (1-2-3) registered his first career three-point playoff game, including his first playoff goal as an LA King. Fiala also recorded his fourth and fifth assists of the postseason in just his third career postseason game with the Kings. Fiala is the third skater, and first forward, in team history to record at least four assists in his first three playoff games as a member of the Kings, joining defensemen Drew Doughty (1-4-5; April 15-19, 2010) and Jack Johnson (0-5-5; April 15-19, 2010).
– Phillip Danault (1-0-1) scored a shorthanded goal for his second goal of the series. It is the sixth game-tying shorthanded playoff goal in franchise history and the first since Anze Kopitar in Game 5 of the 2012 Western Conference Finals against the Coyotes (May 22, 2012).
– Quinton Byfield (0-1-1) tallied his third assist of the series. It is his second point in as many games, marking the first time in his career he has recorded a point in back-to-back playoff games.
– Viktor Arvidsson (0-2-2) recorded his fifth and sixth assists of the playoffs, passing Anze Kopitar (5) for the team lead in the category. Tonight’s effort also marked Arvidsson’s third multi-point game of the playoffs, the most by a King this postseason.
– Kopitar skated in his 92nd playoff game as an LA King, tying him with Dustin Brown (92) and Dave Taylor (92) for the second-most playoff games played in franchise history. Kopitar, Brown and Taylor all trail Luc Robitaille (94) for most all-time.
– Drew Doughty (0-1-1) recorded his third assist of the playoffs in his 90th career playoff game. Doughty became the fifth skater in Kings history to appear in at least 90 career playoff games with the organization, behind the Dustin Brown (92), Anze Kopitar (92) and Dave Taylor (92) and Luc Robitaille (94). Kopitar and Doughty each skated in their 44th career home playoff game to tie them with Dustin Brown for second-most in Kings history and sit one shy of tying Luc Robitaille (45) for most all-time.

The Kings are scheduled to hold exit interviews tomorrow morning. Full coverage from the day to follow on LAKI.

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