R1, G1 FINAL – Kings 4, Oilers 7 – Doughty, Kempe, Hiller

The LA Kings dropped Game 1 for the first time in three seasons, following a 7-4 defeat against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday evening at Rogers Place.

Just under seven minutes into the game, the Oilers scored the first goal of the series through forward Zach Hyman, who picked up right where he left off in the regular season. Forward Connor McDavid made a spin move down the right wing and though Kings forward Trevor Moore got a stick on the pass into the slot to break it up, Hyman charged in and buried from the slot for an early 1-0 advantage.

Less than three minutes later, Edmonton doubled its advantage, with Hyman this time playing the role of facilitator. After the Kings were unable to get a clear at their defensive blue line, Hyman threaded a pass to linemate Adam Henrique, who beat Kings netminder Cam Talbot high on the blocker side from the left-hand circle for his first goal of the series and a 2-0 lead.

In the first five minutes of the second period, Edmonton made it 3-0 as Hyman collected his second goal and third point of the evening. After forward Viktor Arvidsson was denied on a breakaway at one end, Edmonton quickly made it a three-goal lead the other way. McDavid rounded the net and fed Hyman in the low slot, where he beat Talbot from close range.

On their second power play of the evening, the Oilers made it 4-0 as forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Skating with the extra man, Edmonton forward Leon Draisaitl hit Nugent-Hopkins at the back post, where he buried his first goal of the series for a four-goal lead. McDavid picked up his third point of the game with the secondary assist on the play.

Midway through the second period, the Kings got on the board via defenseman Mikey Anderson. The Kings used a simple formula, with a puck from the point and traffic in front of Edmonton netminder Stuart Skinner. Anderson’s shot from the left point evaded a Trevor Moore screen in front and went in for his first career playoff goal, as the visitors made it a 4-1 game.

After the Kings had a Trevor Lewis goal disallowed midway through the period, they eventually pulled back to within two goals through forward Adrian Kempe, with just over two minutes remaining in the middle stanza. With the line of Kempe, Anze Kopitar and Quinton Byfield reunited late in the second period, the connection was instant, as Kempe’s pass into the crease deflected off the skate of defenseman Evan Bouchard and in, as LA made it 4-2.

Edmonton scored its second and third power-play goals in the first seven minutes of the third period, as they opened up a 6-2 lead. McDavid picked up his fourth point of the game, as he fed Draisaitl for a one-timer from a sharp angle, which Draisaitl buried top shelf for his first goal of the series and a three-goal advantage. McDavid then connected with Hyman, who narrowly got the puck over the goal line for his third goal of the game and a four-goal lead.

The Kings scored twice in the final few minutes in regulation, pulling to within 6-4.

First, forward Pierre-Luc Dubois gained the offensive blue line off the rush, skated in down the left wing and his shot took a double deflection, off each of the Edmonton defensemen and in for the third goal of the evening. With 1:11 left in regulation, the Kings capitalized off an Oilers broken stick, with Alex Laferriere feeding Trevor Moore for his first goal of the series, with the visitors moving to within two goals down.

Forward Warren Foegele picked the empty net for the final goal of the game and a 7-4 final score.

Hear from Kempe, defenseman Drew Doughty and Head Coach Jim Hiller following tonight’s game.

Drew Doughty

Adrian Kempe
On his main takeaways from the Kings’ defensive performance tonight

I think we gave up too much off the rush. I think that was our main thing when you look at the game. I think when we’re in the zone and when we played with the puck, even when they had the puck in our zone, I think we played pretty well, I think we gave up too many rush chances. Yeah, PK, I don’t know what we were, 3-for-4 or whatever, that’s got to be better. We can’t have them be at [75] percent, that’s not going to win games.

On if he felt tonight’s game was played in Edmonton’s style, not LA’s
I think a little bit. After the first period, I think like I said, it was trying to eliminate the rush a little bit more. We were maybe a little bit careless, pinching and not covering, us as forwards and that gave them a lot of rush chances. Like I said, other than the rush chances, I think we handled them pretty well down low and stuff like that, but yeah, they played too much on the on the go and that’s their strength. That’s something that we’ve got to be better at.

On if he felt the breakdowns were structural or personnel, read-based
No, I think it’s kind of a read thing. Everybody’s fired up when you come in and play, everybody wants to go out there and be physical, all that kind of stuff, and sometimes – I can only speak for myself – sometimes you just don’t think and you go in there and you lose a man and it’ll become a 3-on-2. All that kind of stuff, like I said, that’s what they’re really good at. That’s something that we’ve got to be more careful with on Wednesday.

On the disappointing nature of the PPG early in the third, after fighting their way back
I think we were fighting back all game and that’s something that we have to take with us moving forward. Even if we go down in the next game, I think we’ll still try as hard as we can to get back. Every time you come in this building, you know they’re going to get power plays, that’s just how it is. So I mean, like I said, we have to do better on the PK. We eliminate a couple of those penalties and don’t let them be [75] percent on the power play, I think it’s a more even game.

Jim Hiller
On his thoughts on the defensive breakdowns in tonight’s game

Two things that happened are strengths of ours – penalty kill and eliminating rush chances. That’s what we do well and we didn’t do either of those well tonight. That’s the obvious, we definitely saw that and we’ll have to fix that.

On the backbreaking nature of the power-play goal early in the third, after getting back to 4-2
Yeah, that got us. The Lewie goal gets disallowed, we come back to score after that, so I thought we did have some momentum in the o-zone. We were getting to the net, we had some shots, we just couldn’t stop their power play tonight for some reason and that makes it pretty tough. Once they get that kind of lead, it deflates you and makes it for a long way back.

On tonight’s game being played in Edmonton’s style, not the Kings’
Well, it was the rush chances, it was F3, we lost F3. They came at us with numbers, that’s something that we usually don’t do, we always have F3 and we didn’t have F3, we didn’t track as well as we have, so these are things that are fixable for us. I think that’s really the point that we’re trying to make. is if we can fix those things, we usually do those well. I don’t have a good answer as far as why we didn’t do those, but that’s not how we play.

On the nature of the team’s four penalties taken tonight
I thought they were borderline, it was a couple of borderline, when you could look at it and say you gave them a chance to make that call. There were two for sure that can’t be in our game. They get to the net on the power play, this is not surprising to anybody here, it can’t happen. You can’t put yourself in a position where the referee’s got to make a judgment call. Two for sure.

On how he would assess Cam Talbot’s play and how the group didn’t make things easy on him
Cam was fine. I’ll back it up, I thought our forwards made it too hard on our D and our team, as a group, we made it too hard on Cam. He made a lot of saves, some good saves. They were coming down and cracking them on some odd-man rushes, so there was nothing there for Cam. There’s just no way we can give that many chances up, that’s just not us. We’ll clean it up.

Notes –
– Mikey Anderson (1-0=1) opened the scoring for the Kings with the first Stanley Cup Playoff goal of his career.
– Adrian Kempe (1-1=2) scored his first goal and recorded his first assist of the Playoffs for his fourth career multi-point Playoff game. The goal marked Kempe’s eighth career postseason marker against the Edmonton Oilers, breaking a tie with Wayne Gretzky (7G) for sole possession of the fourth-most Playoff goals against the Oilers in Kings history.
– Pierre-Luc Dubois (1-0=1) scored his first Playoff goal as a member of the Kings. The goal was the 11th postseason goal of Dubois’ career, breaking a tie with Ross Colton (10) for the third-most Playoff goals among skaters selected in the 2016 NHL Draft.
– Trevor Moore (1-0=1) notched his fifth career postseason goal. With the tally, Moore continues to average a point-per-game in Stanley Cup Playoff Game Ones, registering four points (2-2=4) over four career Game Ones dating back to April 11, 2019.
– Drew Doughty (0-1=1) picked up his first assist of the playoffs, the 39th assist of his playoff career for his 55th career Playoff point, breaking a tie with Justin Williams (22-32=54) for sole possession of the fifth-most Playoff points in franchise history.
– Viktor Arvidsson (0-1=1) tallied his first assist of the postseason. Arvidsson has now recorded seven assists (1-7=8) over his last seven Playoff games against the Oilers, dating back to April 17, 2023.
– Quinton Byfield (0-1=1) notched his first assist of the Playoffs, the fourth assist of his postseason career. Byfield has now recorded points (1-2=3) in three straight Playoff games, dating back to April 25, 2023.
– Alex Laferriere (0-1=1) picked up his first career postseason point in his first appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
– Anže Kopitar skated in his 93rd career Stanley Cup Playoff game tonight, breaking a tie with Dustin Brown (92GP) and Dave Taylor (92GP) for sole possession of the second-most Playoff games played by a skater in Kings history. With the appearance, Kopitar also breaks a tie with Jonathan Quick (92GP) for sole possession of the second-most games played by any Kings player in franchise history, trailing only Luc Robitaille (94GP).
– Kopitar and Doughty each made their ninth appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, tying Mike Murphy for the third-most playoff postseasons in franchise history, behind only Luc Robitaille(10) and Dave Taylor (13).
– Trevor Lewis skated in his 100th career Stanley Cup Playoff game tonight, his 80th in an LA Kings uniform. Lewis becomes the eighth skater selected in the 2006 NHL Draft to skate in 100 career Playoff games, and just the second American-born skater to do so, joining Phil Kessel (100GP). Lewis becomes the sixth Kings skater to skate in 80 career Playoff games, and just the second American-born skater to do so, joining Dustin Brown (92GP).

The Kings are scheduled to practice tomorrow at 1 PM at Rogers Place.

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