FINAL – Kings 1, Oilers 4 – Fiala, Byfield, Hiller

The LA Kings dropped a 4-1 decision against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday evening at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta.

Edmonton scored the lone goal of the first period, with the teams skating 4-on-4, to take a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. Forward Connor McDavid made the play in front, as he corralled a one-timer from defenseman Mattias Ekholm, deked to his backhand and slotted past Kings netminder Cam Talbot for the game-opening goal. The point was McDavid’s 120th of the season, his third straight season with at least 120 points.

After a back and forth second period, with Grade-A looks at both ends, the Oilers capitalized inside a minute to play, taking a 2-0 lead into the second intermission. Forward Leon Draisaitl rounded the net with possession and threw a high pass into the slot, off the chest of Oilers forward Adam Henrique and into the net. Draisaitl and McDavid collected the assists on the play, as Edmonton took a two-goal advantage into the break.

The Oilers made it 3-0 on their second power play of the evening, with defenseman Evan Bouchard burying his 16th goal of the season. McDavid worked behind the net and fed a low-to-high pass to Bouchard in the right-hand circle, with the blueliner one-timing the puck through traffic and in for the three-goal advantage.

The Kings pulled a goal back with just over six minutes to play in the third period, as Arthur Kaliyev converted from the slot to get the visitors on the board. Forward Quinton Byfield set it up, with a pass into the middle, where Kaliyev buried it for his seventh goal of the season, his first since December, as the Kings moved to within 3-1.

Inside a minute to play in regulation, Edmonton iced the game through defenseman Cody Ceci, who hit the empty net for the 4-1 final. Draisaitl picked up the only assist on the play, his third of the evening.

Hear from Byfield, forward Kevin Fiala and Head Coach Jim Hiller following tonight’s game.

Kevin Fiala

Quinton Byfield
On his overall takeaways from tonight’s game

Yeah, obviously they’re a good team. I feel like we played a pretty strong game, here and there we had some lapses and they took advantage of us on the power play, they’re one of the best power plays in the league. There was a couple of things that we can clean up, but I felt like we had a good game.

On the difficulty of giving up the second goal, so late in the second period
I feel like we had a lot of good opportunities, chances, momentum at times, but it’s definitely deflating letting a goal like that in going into the locker room. We eliminate some of that stuff, it could have been a different outcome, I think.

On where he felt the Kings came up short offensively tonight
I think they’ve got a good team, their defense have a very good gap and they’ve got skilled players on their team, so it’s going to be hard to get your chances. We check for our chances and when we got our chances, we’ve just got to finish. We’ve got to bury those against a team like that.

On if the Kings change their game at all when they give up the first goal
It doesn’t change our game at all. We know what we have in this room and what it takes to win, so we’ve got a strategy, we’re going to keep doing it, keep grinding other teams out and that works for us.

On seeing his friend and teammate Arthur Kaliyev get back on the scoresheet
He’s had a hard go of it a bit lately, so for him and for the team as well, it’s very good to see him score and hopefully get him going. He can be a big part of our team and a key piece, depth scoring like that. It’s big and as a friend of his too, I’m super happy for him to bury that.

Jim Hiller
On the difference in tonight’s game

They scored on their chances. In the end, chances are probably pretty close to equal, I would think. We didn’t score on ours, their goalie played well and yeah, we just didn’t score on our chances. You’ve got to score to be competitive.

On the second goal against, late in the second, after a strong period for the Kings
That was a tough one, for sure. I thought we played a pretty good period, like you said, and then we were close to the red line, didn’t get the red line, it’s icing, so yeah, that one hurt. We had a chance to regroup, we didn’t come out well at the start of the third period and then the second half, we got some energy again and like I said, the goalie played well.

On his assessment of the power play tonight
We were a lot better in the 6-on-5 than we were on the 5-on-4. We just had a hard time being connected, puck bounced on us a couple times, Dewey broke a his stick, we’ve just got to be sharper. We just weren’t good on the power play, we just weren’t sharp.

On Arthur Kaliyev converting on his opportunity in the third period
Everybody’s happy for Arty, it has been a tough go for him for sure. He’s had chances, hasn’t played a lot, but the times he did, he’s had chances and hasn’t scored. So, it’s nice to see when he got his chance tonight, he was able to find the back of the net. Maybe that’ll help him just a little bit with his confidence going forward.

On the decision to play Kaliyev tonight and switch from 11/7 to 12/6
Yeah, he hadn’t played a lot. I mean, he’s an important player still on our team, he’s one of the guys, he’s here working every day. He’d been out for a while, he’s been a good soldier, chance to get him back in the lineup, nothing more than that.

On how quickly he and the Kings put this game behind them
By the time we get out of here, we have to forget it. The season’s winding down, every game is important. I know we talked a lot about “oh, it’s Edmonton” but every one is important. You have to put this one behind us and take on the next challenge in Calgary on Saturday.

Notes –
– Arthur Kaliyev (1-0=1) scored his seventh goal of the season. Kaliyev’s goal marked his 71st career point (35-36=71), breaking a tie with Philip Tomasino (23-47=70) for sole possession of 12th-most points among skaters selected in the 2019 NHL Draft. Kaliyev also becomes the second skater selected in the 2019 NHL Draft to play in 10 career games against the Edmonton Oilers, joining Vancouver’s Nils Hoglander (17).
– Quinton Byfield (0-1=1) extended his assist streak to a fourth consecutive game with his 34th helper of the season. With the assist, Byfield finishes the regular season series against the Oilers with points in each of the four matchups. Byfield is the first Kings skater to record a point in every contest of a four-game regular season slate against the Oilers since Dustin Brown (5-3=8), Drew Doughty (1-4=5), and Anže Kopitar (2-7=9) all did so during the 2018-19 season series.
– Drew Doughty skated in his 1,167th career game, tying Chris Pronger for the 43rd-most games played by a defenseman in NHL history, while forward Anže Kopitar skated in his 1,364th career game, breaking a tie with Jeremy Roenick for sole possession of the 53rd-most games played by all skaters in NHL history.

The Kings will not hold an on-ice practice tomorrow in Calgary. The team will return to action on Saturday for morning skate from the Scotiabank Saddledome.

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