Oilers will play Kings in Western Conference 1st Round


The Edmonton Oilers will play the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third straight season.

Edmonton eliminated Los Angeles in six games last season and in seven games in 2022.

The Oilers (49-27-6), who finished second in the Pacific Division, will have home-ice advantage in the best-of-7 series. The Kings (44-27-11) finished third in the Pacific.

The playoffs begin Saturday.

The Oilers won three of the four games against the Kings this season, including both at home. They won 3-2 in a shootout on Dec. 30, 4-2 on Feb. 26, and 4-1 on March 28. The Kings won 4-0 in Los Angeles on Feb. 10.

All of those games occurred after Kris Knoblauch replaced Jay Woodcroft as Edmonton’s coach on Nov. 12. At the time of the firing, the Oilers were 3-9-1.

Los Angeles also made a coaching change this season, firing Todd McLellan on Feb. 2 following a 3-8-6 stretch that left it fourth in the Pacific Division. The Kings went 21-12-1 under interim coach Jim Hiller.

This season, the Oilers were led by forwards Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman. McDavid had 132 points (32 goals, 100 assists), including becoming the fourth player in NHL history to have at least 100 assists in a season, Draisaitl had 106 points (41 goals, 65 assists), and Hyman had 77 points, including a career-high 54 goals. Evan Bouchard led their defensemen with 82 points (18 goals, 64 assists).

Stuart Skinner was 36-16-5 with a 2.62 goals-against average, .905 save percentage and two shutouts in 59 games (57 starts), and Calvin Pickard was 12-7-1 with a 2.45 GAA, .909 save percentage and one shutout in 23 games (20 starts). Jack Campbell was 1-4-0 with a 4.50 GAA and .873 save percentage before being placed on waivers in November.

Against the Kings, the Oilers were led by McDavid, who had seven points (two goals, five assists) in the four games. Draisaitl had six points (two goals, four assists), and Bouchard had five (two goals, three assists).

Skinner started all four games against Los Angeles, going 3-1-0 with a 1.99 GAA and .936 save percentage.

The Kings were led this season by forwards Adrian Kempe (75 points; 28 goals, 47 assists), Kevin Fiala (73 points; 29 goals, 44 assists), Anze Kopitar (70 points; 26 goals, 44 assists), Trevor Moore (57 points; 31 goals, 26 assists), and Quinton Byfield (55 points; 20 goals, 35 assists). Drew Doughty led their defensemen with 50 points (15 goals, 35 assists).

Cam Talbot was 27-20-6 with a 2.50 GAA, .913 save percentage and three shutouts in 54 games (52 starts), and David Rittich was 13-6-3 with a 2.15 GAA, .921 save percentage and three shutouts in 24 games (22 starts). Pheonix Copley was 4-1-2 with a 3.16 GAA, .870 save percentage and one shutout in eight games before having season-ending ACL surgery in January.

Against the Oilers, the Kings were led by Byfield, who had six points (two goals, four assists). Kempe (one goal, two assists) and Kopitar (three assists) each had three points.

Talbot was 0-1-1 with a 2.46 GAA and .889 save percentage. Rittich was 1-1-0 with a 2.04 GAA, .930 save percentage and one shutout.

The Oilers and Kings have played nine times in the playoffs, with Edmonton winning seven of the series, including each of the past five.

The Oilers have won the Stanley Cup five times (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990). The Kings have won it twice (2012, 2014).

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