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Los Angeles Kings
45-23-9 (3rd in Pacific Division)
45-22-10 (2nd in Pacific Division)
Connor McDavid (146)
Kevin Fiala (72)
Connor McDavid (62)
Adrian Kempe (36)
Connor McDavid (84)
Kevin Fiala (49)
Darnell Nurse (20)
Adrian Kempe (23)
Connor McDavid (4.25)
Shots (Per Game)
Kevin Fiala (3.01)
The Edmonton Oilers will travel south to face the Los Angeles Kings for the fourth and final time this season. The Kings won the first two games by scores of 3-1 and 6-3, but the Oilers shut out the Kings 2-0 in the third game.
The Oilers were in a Wild Card spot for most of the season but turned it up recently and pushed themselves into third place in the Pacific Division with 99 points. They may be able to move up a spot with a win today. On the other side, the Kings are in second place in the Pacific Division with 99 points. They can move into first with a win but may fall to third with a loss. Both of these teams have clinched Playoff spots, but this game’s outcome will affect where their position as they enter the Playoffs.
The Oilers have stepped it up in the second half of the season, but they are not a perfect team. Offensively, they are the NHL’s best squad and average nearly four goals a game, but defensively, they are a little below average. Edmonton has improved on the defensive end, but they still have some serious holes on that side of the ice. It is also worth noting that the Oilers' netminders, Stuart Skinner and Jack Campbell, have not played up to expectation this season and are often liabilities.
The Oilers are led by their center trio of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. This trio has combined for 363 points and 147 goals. When these three are bringing their A-game, the Oilers are unstoppable.
Stuart Skinner will likely get the start for the Oilers. His numbers are decent, but he could be better. Skinner comes into this game with a .911 save percentage and will need to perform well to finish the season.
The Kings are not as electric as the Oilers, but they have been consistent all season long. Los Angeles has been in a Wild Card spot or the top three of the Pacific Division for almost the whole season. Offensively, they are averaging nearly 3.4 goals per game, and defensively, they allow 3.1 goals per game. Those numbers are both better than the league average and has helped the Kings clinch a Playoff spot. The Kings do not have a particularly exciting roster, but they have the necessary pieces to perform well in the Playoffs.
The Kings are led by Kevin Fiala, Anze Kopitar, and Adrian Kempe. These three all have at least 59 points and 23 goals.
Phoenix Copley will likely get the start for the Kings. Copley is the #1 netminder in Los Angeles, but he is not great. His .901 save percentage is tied for the 30th-highest in the NHL.
The Kings may be playing at home, but I would bet on the Oilers to win. Edmonton is on a four-game winning streak and has enough momentum to get the victory. Bet on the Oilers.
The Oilers are the favorites but will only win if they pass to Connor McDavid and draw penalties.
Connor McDavid is attempting to score 150 points for the first time since 1996. McDavid is the NHL’s best player and has six points in his previous three games. His teammates must pass him the puck and set him up with opportunities.
The Oilers have the best power-play unit in the NHL, converting over 32% of their opportunities. Edmonton must draw penalties and get this unit on the ice.
The Kings are the underdogs but can win if they score first and play tough defense.
The Kings have scored first in four of their five previous victories. They are not guaranteed to win when they strike first, but they do greatly increase their chances of winning. I would almost guarantee a Kings victory if they score the first goal.
The Kings will be taking on the Oilers' center trio I mentioned above in this game. They cannot let these three players dominate the game and must slow them down as much as possible.
I spoke above about Connor McDavid above, but I cannot emphasize the urgency he will play with as he attempts to reach 150 points. McDavid will be all over the place and wreaking havoc every second he is on the ice.
This is a bit of a surprising choice. Drew Doughty is a veteran defenseman and leads the Kings in TOI at 26:17. He will tasked with slowing down the likes of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. This will be a tough task but one that Doughty is the most prepared to take on.
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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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