R1, G2 FINAL – Kings 5, Oilers 4 (OT) – Kopitar, Byfield, Kempe, Talbot, Hiller

The LA Kings evened the series at one game apiece with a 5-4, overtime victory over the Oilers in Game 2 on Wednesday evening at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

The Kings opened the scoring just over three minutes into the game through forward Adrian Kempe, who scored for the second time in as many games for an early 1-0 advantage. Forward Anze Kopitar intercepted a pass at the top of the offensive zone, worked down the left-hand wall and fed Kempe in the slot, where he fired his shot first time, past Edmonton netminder Stuart Skinner, for the game-opening goal.

Kempe then doubled his tally on the evening with a terrific bit of hand-eye coordination. Off a give-and-go through the neutral zone, Kempe fed Kopitar to the right, gaining the offensive blueline. Kopitar then saucered a pass through the slot back to Kempe, who whacked the puck out of mid-air and in for his third goal, putting the Kings ahead 2-0 in the process.

Edmonton answered back in the final three minutes of the first period, with defenseman Brett Kulak opening his account for the series. Forward Leon Draisaitl set the play up, as he dropped a pass into the slot for Kulak, who skated onto the puck and hammered it into the top corner, past Kings netminder Cam Talbot on the blocker side. Draisaitl’s helper was his second assist and third point of the series.

Less than a minute later, however, the Kings answered right back to take a 3-1 lead into the first intermission. Skating in transition, forward Viktor Arvidsson placed an area pass into the middle of the ice, with defenseman Drew Doughty skating onto it in space. Doughty withstood contact from behind and got the puck over the goal line for his first goal of the postseason and a two-goal advantage for the visitors.

With two goals coming in a span of less than three minutes, the Oilers tied the game midway through the second period.

First, Edmonton capitalized on one of their first transition-driven rushes of the evening. The puck moved from forward Mattias Janmark to forward Sam Carrick, who fed forward Dylan Holloway in the slot for his first career goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Oilers then converted on the power play, as forward Zach Hyman buried his fourth goal of the series off a one-timer, with Draisaitl and forward Connor McDavid tallying the assists.

Early in the third period, the teams traded goals inside the first four minutes, taking the game tied at four.

First, forward Kevin Fiala put the Kings back on top with his first goal of the series. Fiala took a pass from defenseman Jordan Spence and used a simple formula, getting a puck on net with traffic that found its way past Skinner and in, as the Kings took a 4-3 lead less than two minutes into the third period.

The Oilers answered back less than two minutes later, however, as Holloway scored his second goal of the game. Off a 3-on-2 rush, Edmonton gained the offensive blueline with Janmark feeding Holloway and the rookie forward skating into the right-hand circle and finishing top glove to tie the game.

With the game in overtime, the Kings evened the series up at one game apiece via Kopitar, who collected his third point of the evening with the game-winning goal. A pass from defenseman Mikey Anderson deflected off the stick of Quinton Byfield, directly into the path of Kopitar, who moved in alone and snapped his shot past Skinner to tie the series.

Hear from Kopitar, Kempe, Byfield, Talbot and Head Coach Jim Hiller following tonight’s victory.

Anze Kopitar
On the game-winning goal and how he saw that play develop

It was kind of a wacky play where Mikey throws it up the boards and I think it was Q who tipped it……next thing I know, I had it right on my stick. Figured I’d make the most of it.

On how he saw the team handle the momentum swings throughout the game
It was good. I mean, it was a lot better game in terms of managing and making the right plays like we did in Game 1. We came out strong, scored a couple of goals which always helps. We’ve talked about that before, in the playoffs, there’s usually ups and downs within the series within the game. You’ve just got to be prepared for that and just kind of go about it the next shift and try to make the most of it.

On the team’s bounceback effort in total
A much better effort, structurally, from the team. We’re still taking a few unnecessary penalties, which we’re trying to avoid, and we’ll try and fix that going forward. Playoffs, everything’s tight and usually one goal makes the difference.

Quinton Byfield
On the ups and downs tonight and how the Kings handled them in a big win

That’s playoff hockey for you. There’s a lot of momentum swings in a game like that and just how well you can handle it, the ups and downs, and how well you can stay sustain it. That’s just playoff hockey, that’s all I can say.

On his read of Kopitar’s game-winning goal tonight
I’ll try to take credit for that, but it was all him. I saw Mikey, the puck bounced on him and got a little high, so I was just thinking no icing here and just try to get a stick on it. As I said earlier, Kopi is always in the right spot, supporting the puck, trying to get ready to go on the forecheck, luckily it worked out for him and what a finish.

On the forwards rotating around tonight and how the group fed off that
I think everyone’s played with everyone throughout the season, so just the movement throughout the lines, it keeps you on your toes. A lot of different looks for you offensively and then also different looks for the other team defending you. You don’t know what’s going to come out on the ice and it’s a lot of different groups.

Adrian Kempe
On the game-winning goal and how he saw that play develop

It helps having Kopi and these guys, who do it at all and just calm us down, that kind of stuff in the locker room. I think, throughout the game tonight, we were up early, feeling good about our game and Edmonton came back. I think we played pretty solid after that. Obviously, we just kept sticking with it and played our game. It was a tight game all the way to the end.

On his goal which was batted out of midair
Everything happened so quick. Kopi threw the pass and I don’t know if it bounced off the d-man’s stick or the ice, but it kind of stopped in the air. I just tried to bat it out of the air and I think the goalie was expecting it to go far side and I just tried to whack it short side. It worked out well. A little bit of luck, but you deserve that sometimes.

Cam Talbot
On his focus throughout the third period to keep the game tied

I just knew that if I go out there and I was trying to give us the chance to win, maybe stop a few more than I did last game and I knew that we would go out there and do our thing tonight. Kopi got us a big goal, just like he’s made to do.

On the team’s improvement on the penalty kill tonight and his saves in those situations
We talked that last game that our PK needs to be better and that starts with me. I was just trying to do everything I could to keep the puck out of the net there and not give them any momentum going into the third period. Just trying to read the plays, it’s tough out there, there’s so many good players out there and they know exactly where each other are all the time.

Jim Hiller

Notes –
– Anze Kopitar (1-2=3) scored his first goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for his third career overtime game-winning goal, breaking a four-way tie for the most in franchise history. Kopitar’s three career playoff overtime road goals are tied for the most in the league among active skaters. In NHL history, only Stephane Richer (4) and Joe Sakic (5) have scored more game-winning goals in overtime on the road.
– Kopitar picked up his first and second assists of the playoffs for his ninth and 10th points (3-7=10) over his last eight playoff games, dating back to April 17, 2023. Kopitar’s assists stand as his 49th and 50th career even-strength points (16-34=50) in the postseason, making him the fourth skater selected in the 2005 NHL Draft to record 50 even-strength points in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
– Kopitar’s pair of helpers marked his eighth career multi-assist Playoff effort, passing Marcel Dionne (7x) for the third-most such Playoff games in franchise history. Only Luc Robitaille (11x) and Wayne Gretzky (17x) have recorded more multi-assist performances for the Kings in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
– The captain’s performance was the fourth three-point Playoff game of his career, the fourth-most in franchise history behind Dave Taylor (5x), Luc Robitaille (7x) and Wayne Gretzky (16x).
Per NHL PR, Kopitar (36 yeas, 244 days) became the oldest player in franchise history with an overtime goal during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, besting the previous mark set by Justin Williams (32 years, 243 days in Game 1 of 2014 SCF)
– Kopitar skated in his 94th career Stanley Cup Playoff game tonight, tying Luc Robitaille (94GP) for the most Playoff games played in Kings franchise history, while defenseman Drew Doughty ties Dustin Brown, Dave Taylor and Jonathan Quick (92GP) for the third-most Playoff games played in franchise history.
– Adrian Kempe (2-0=2) scored his second and third goals of the Playoffs for his third and fourth points of the series (3-1=4). Kempe’s 10 career Playoff goals against Edmonton sits tied with Bernie Nicholls (10G) for the second-most in franchise history, while his 18 career Playoff points against the Oilers (10-8-17) tie Steve Duchesne (5-13=18) for the fifth-most in franchise history.
– Drew Doughty (1-0=1) scored his first goal of the Playoffs for the 17th Playoff goal of his career, tying Tomas Sandstrom for the ninth-most playoff goals in franchise history. Among active blueliners, only Cale Makar (2-7=9) has more career Playoff points against the Oilers than Doughty’s five (1-4=5). Doughty’s tally is his first post-season goal since June 4, 2014, vs. New York in the Stanley Cup Finals.
– Kevin Fiala (1-0=1) scored his first goal of the Playoffs in his 40th career Playoff game, becoming the first Kings skater to score a goal in his 40th career Playoff game since Dustin Brown (1G) and Drew Doughty (1G) each did so on May 16, 2013, vs. San Jose. Fiala becomes the fifth Swiss-born skater to play in 40 career Stanley Cup Playoff games.
– Viktor Arvidsson (0-1=1) tallied his second assist in as many games, extending his Playoff assist streak to a third game (0-4=4) dating back to April 29, 2023.
– Phillip Danault (0-1=1) recorded his first assist of the Playoffs, his sixth career postseason assist against the Oilers as a member of the Kings, breaking a four-way tie with Marcel Dionne (5A), Steve Kasper (5A) and Mike Krushelnyski (5A) for sole possession of the third-most Playoff assists by a Quebec-born skater in franchise history against Edmonton.
– Jordan Spence (0-1=1) picked up his first assist of the post-season, the first point of his Stanley Cup Playoff career.
– Quinton Byfield (0-2=2) notched his second and third assists of the Playoffs, extending his post-season assist streak to a third game (0-4=4) dating back to April 29, 2023, and extending his Playoff point streak to a fourth game (1-4=5) dating back to April 25, 2023. Byfield becomes the first skater selected in the 2020 NHL Draft to record a four-game point streak of any kind in the Playoffs. Byfield’s pair of assists marked his first career multi-point Playoff game.
– Mikey Anderson (0-1=1) picked up his first assist of the Playoffs for his second point (1-1=2) in as many games, the first Playoff point streak of his career.

The Kings are scheduled to travel back to Los Angeles tomorrow and will not practice. The team will return to the ice on Friday for morning skate at 10:30 AM at Toyota Sports Performance Center.

Rules for Blog Commenting

  • No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other comments, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • Please do not discuss, or post links to websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.

Repeated violations of the blog rules will result in site bans, commensurate with the nature and number of offenses.

Please flag any comments that violate the site rules for moderation. For immediate problems regarding problematic posts, please email zdooley@lakings.com.