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Edmonton Oilers eliminate Kings with 4-3 win

The Edmonton Oilers advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by beating the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 Wednesday night at Rogers Place. The Oilers win the series in five games, eliminating the Kings in the first round for the third straight season.

“We’re probably a better team this year than we were last year or the year before. We’re more mature, which plays a big part sometimes,” Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl said. “That’s a really good team over there. They make it hard on you. It’s an absolute grind against them every night and hats off to the way they compete and play the game, but that being said, we did a good job getting our minds ready for that and mentally being ready for the challenge.”

The game flow in the first period was similar to Sunday’s fourth game. The Kings outshot the Oilers 10-5, though the Oilers did score first. Evander Kane’s backhand was misplayed by David Rittich and squirted into the net with 9:43 on the clock.

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The Kings tied with 28 seconds left in the frame. Stuart Skinner went behind the net to play a dump in, but the puck took a funny bounce off the glass and went in front to Alex Laferriere. He was able to cash in before Skinner scrambled back into position. It was the first goal allowed by Skinner in 114 minutes.

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“Our response was absolutely massive,” Skinner recalled. “Getting bounces like that–it happens. You can’t do too much about it once it does. It’s about how you respond and I think as a group we did a really good job.”

“We’re not a young team here. We’ve got lots of guys that have played in big games and been in big situations and those ups and downs and momentum swings are all part of it,” Connor McDavid said.

The Kings went ahead 3:08 into the second when Blake Lizotte found some room down the right wing and popped a shot past Skinner’s blocker.

The Oilers power play then took over. Draisaitl blasted a one-timer that Rittich reached back and snared. After video review, it was ruled the puck crossed the line while in Rittich’s glove. Just four seconds after a Kings penalty expired, Draisaitl flicked in a centering pass from McDavid.

“He’s a big man and when he’s got his feet moving and he’s playing hard on both sides of the puck, there’s not many guys better than him in the whole world,” McDavid said about Draisaitl. “It’s impressive to watch and he always seems to bring that game this time of year.”

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In the final minute of the second, only three seconds after a Kings penalty expired, Zach Hyman cleaned up a loose puck in the crease to make it 4-2.

With Rittich pulled for an extra attacker, Adrian Kempe knifed a deflection past Skinner to pull the King within a goal with 2:18 left. However, the Kings could not muster the equalizer.

Evan Bouchard had three assists.

The Oilers will face either Nashville or Vancouver in the second round.

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