(Edmonton) Repeating history is the next goal for the Edmonton Oilers.
The Oilers wanted another scenario than starting their first-round series against the Kings by squandering two two-goal leads en route to a 4-3 loss.
But the Oilers have been there before, and recently. Last year, they also lost their opener to the Kings (4-3 in regulation) and bounced back with a 6-0 win in Game 2.
The Oilers certainly don’t want to leave Edmonton down 2-0 in the series.
Game 2 is Wednesday at Rogers Place.
“The past is no guarantee of the future,” Oilers captain Connor McDavid said.
“I like what we did last year in Game 2. Historically, we’ve played well in the second games, but that won’t mean much on Wednesday. It’s an important game and I would like to see a sense of urgency from us. »
Kings player Gabe Vilardi, who has scored 23 goals this season, returned to the ice on Tuesday after missing the final nine games of the regular season with an upper body injury.
In Game 1, the Oilers played smart, skillful hockey for two periods and led 2-0 after 40 minutes.
The Kings, however, managed to pull through thanks to timely goals from Adrian Kempe and a heroic last minute from Anze Kopitar.
Kopitar scored the power play equalizer just 16.7 seconds from the end of the third period.
“We were 15 seconds out of the win,” McDavid said. We would like to find a way to conclude. I repeat it over and over again. »
Kopitar was the most productive captain with a four-point night.
“He keeps his cool and the team benefits from that,” Kings head coach Todd McLellan said. That doesn’t mean he lacks competitiveness, because deep down inside, he’s hot. »
The Rogers Place crowd embraced Drew Doughty as the show’s villain. He said before Game 1 that because of McDavid’s blow to defensive partner Mikey Anderson in March, “If we get the chance to hit him, we’ll try to do it. »
Boos rang out when Doughty touched the puck, even before he knocked McDavid down near the Kings bench in the third period.
“It’s kind of comical,” Anderson said. He seems to thrive in this kind of environment, it usually stimulates him. »
Leon Draisaitl’s anticipation and agility were behind the Oilers’ first and third goals.
However, giving the Kings power play unit six chances, ranked fourth in the league in the regular season, was a big part of the Oilers’ loss.
Stuart Skinner made 31 saves in his NHL playoff debut in his hometown.
“I was pretty average,” Skinner said. Neither bad nor extraordinary. I know I can do a lot better and it’s very exciting. »