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Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook
Los Angeles Kings
47-25-10 (3rd in Pacific Division)
50-23-9 (2nd in Pacific Division)
Anze Kopitar (6)
Leon Draisaitl (9)
Adrian Kempe (3)
Leon Draisaitl (5)
Anze Kopitar (4)
Evan Bouchard (5)
Trevor Moore, Drew Doughty, Alexander Edler (4)
Leon Draisaitl (4)
Adrian Kempe (5.0)
Shots (Per Game)
Connor McDavid (5.0)
The Los Angeles Kings will travel to Edmonton to face the Oilers in Game Five of this First Round series. This has been a back-and-forth series so far and will likely go seven games. The Kings won Games One and Three in overtime, and the Oilers won Games Two and Four. Game Four was a thrilling battle that ended with a Zach Hyman overtime goal.
The Kings are performing well in this series. They have scored one less goal than the Oilers, which is a little surprising. Edmonton had the best offense in the NHL this season, so it would be understandable if they were outscoring the Kings by a lot. However, Los Angeles’ defensemen have performed well and done a good job of limiting the Oilers’ shots. They have also had some key saves from goaltender Joonas Korpisalo.
Korpisalo was traded to the Kings from the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Trade Deadline and has performed well. He struggled a bit in Game Four but dominated in Games One and Three. Korpisalo’s performance will be critical to the Kings’ Playoff success. Los Angeles can always look to Phoenix Copley if things awry, but Korpisalo appears to be their best bet in the net.
The Kings are led by Anze Kopitar, Viktor Arvidsson, Adrian Kempe, and Phillip Danault. Kopitar is in his mid-30s and still producing at a high level. He has two goals and four assists in this series. Arvidsson, Kempe, and Danault are younger but strong performers nonetheless. Arvidsson has three assists, Kempe has three goals, and Danault has three assists.
Joonas Korpisalo has played every minute of the Playoffs so far. He did not have a great season but has been strong in the Playoffs. Korpisalo has allowed thirteen goals but has seen 158 shots. He is performing to expectation, given how many shots he is seeing.
The Oilers have the edge in the series, but not by much. On paper, they have a much stronger offensive team. Their defense is not excellent, but it is not horrible. With that being said, the Oilers are significantly more dangerous than the Kings. They have Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins headlining their offense. Those three combined for 385 points this season. They all have the potential to have a strong night in any game, which gives the Oilers an edge.
Three Oilers have stood out this postseason: Leon Draisaitl, Evan Bouchard, and Connor McDavid. Draisaitl has nine points (four goals, five assists), Bouchard has seven points (two goals, five assists), and McDavid has six points (two goals, four assists). I expect these three to have big performances today as well.
Stuart Skinner will likely get the start in net today. Skinner has struggled in the Playoffs and has an .881 save percentage. He is handling around 25 shots a game but not seeing the puck as well as he normally does.
The Oilers are playing at home and coming off a Game Four victory, so I would bet on them to win today.
The Kings are the underdogs but can win with strong goaltending and strong defense.
The Kings have had strong goaltending for most of this series. That will continue to be important in this game. Joonas Korpisalo will likely see 35-40 shots and cannot give up more than three goals. If he does, the Kings will lose.
The Kings’ defense has been decent this series, but they are giving up a lot of shots. That will not work in this game. They have to limit the Oilers to around 30 shots. If Edmonton takes fewer shots, they have fewer opportunities to score.
The Oilers are the favorites but can improve their chances by scoring the first goal and drawing penalties.
The Oilers are playing at home and can get the home crowd on their side by scoring first. It will not guarantee, but it will help them a lot.
The Oilers had the best power-play unit during the season and have six power-play goals in this series. This is a dominant unit and must continue getting on the ice.
I have spoken quite a bit about Joonas Korpisalo in this article. Korpisalo is not regarded as a premier netminder in this league but needs to play like one today. He may be their only hope to win this game.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had 104 points during the season but only has three points in this series. Each point has been a power play assist. That is good, but Nugent-Hopkins must step up today and play up to his ability. He can be their X-factor if he acts like it.
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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