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McDavid, Draisaitl help Oilers rule over Kings 4-1

If it was a playoff preview, the Edmonton Oilers liked how they looked in rehearsal.

Connor McDavid scored a goal and added two assists as the Oilers defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Thursday as the two teams jostle for home ice advantage in what has often appeared like a destined first-round clash in the NHL playoffs.

“It’s always hard against these guys. They are as solid as they come,” McDavid said. “They’re structured and responsible. They’re good, it’s always difficult.

“It requires a patient game, a mature game. I thought we showed that on all levels.”

Leon Draisaitl had three helpers, Evan Bouchard had a goal and an assist, and Adam Henrique and Cody Ceci also scored for the Oilers (44-23-4) who have gone 15-2-2 at home since Jan. 1 to move five points up on the Kings for second place in the Pacific Division with a game in hand.

“It’s nice to get this win and have a little more leeway in home-ice advantage,” said Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner, who made 32 saves on the night. “But at the same time these guys play hard every single night and know what they have to do against us. It’s always a great battle playing against them. If we face them it will be very exciting.”

Arthur Kaliyev scored for the Kings (38-23-11) who saw a four-game winning streak halted and actually dropped one point back of the Vegas Golden Knights into a wild-card position.

“It was a hard game, a lot of battles, a lot of hits from the start,” said Kings forward Kevin Fiala. “It felt like we weren’t that bad, we had good looks and it was a hard battle. There wasn’t anything open for both teams, there were a lot of chips, a lot of forechecks and not much Grade A chances overall, so I think it was like a playoff game.”

The Oilers started the scoring 5:37 into the opening period with the teams playing four players aside when McDavid knocked down a Mattias Ekholm point shot in front of the net before steering the puck past Kings goalie Cam Talbot.

McDavid extended his points streak to six games with his 27th of the campaign and became just the seventh player in NHL history to record 120 points in three consecutive seasons.

One of the best chances for the Kings came late in the middle frame when Skinner was forced to stop Anze Kopitar in tight.

Edmonton extended its lead with just 16 seconds to play in the second period when Draisaitl swept around the back of the net with speed and then banked a backhand off of Henrique in front and in. The goal counted as Henrique’s 21st of the season and third as an Oiler and gave Draisaitl a six-game points streak.

The Oilers made it 3-0 five minutes into the third period on the power play as McDavid spotted Bouchard moving in from the point and he blasted a bomb that beat Talbot glove side for his 16th of the season, snapping a 14-game drought without a goal.

The Kings spoiled Skinner’s shutout bid with 6:13 left in the third as Quinton Byfield spotted Kaliyev alone in front and he rifled in his seventh.

Ceci put the Kings away for good with his third of the year into an empty net in the final minute.

Up next

Kings: Play the third game of a four-game road trip in Calgary against the Flames on Saturday.

Oilers: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2024.

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