Manor Analytics Perspective: Kings-Oilers Three Games In


They see me rollin'. They hatin'.
Staff member

Three games into their 2024 first round playoff series against the Oilers, the Kings find themselves down 2-1 following a brutal home loss on Friday night at Arena.

Is it over? Or can LA comeback to slay the dragon and advance to Round Two for the first time since 2014?

In this article, we’ll recap several stats from the first three games — exploring areas where the Kings have performed well and where they can improve.

Game 1​

A 7-4 loss on the road in Alberta, the Kings did not show much strength to start the series. Zach Hyman kicked off his postseason run with a hat trick, and Oilers captain Connor McDavid tallied five assists.

Let’s look at where the 5v5 shots in Game One came from:


This heatmap shows that the Oilers took a significantly higher quantity of shots from right in front of the net than the Kings. Two Edmonton goals came from the red area during 5v5 play, and another two came from the same area on the power play.

Although many shots by Kings players came from relatively dangerous areas, they still to increase their volume of shots from those areas. Further, despite LA being only marginally outshot (33-31) by Edmonton, a majority of the Oilers shots came from much higher percentage areas of the ice.

McDavid and his teammates recorded a whopping 23 high-danger shot attemtps, according to Natural Stat Trick, compared to only 16 by the Kings. This further supports the idea of the Kings needing to be moving their shots closer to the net, while also working to keep the Oilers away it.

Additionally, LA coach Jim Hiller needs his team to take more high danger chances if they want to compete with this Oilers team.

Simultaneously, they’ll need to stay out of the box. The Oilers totaled three power play goals in Game One, not entirely surprising considering they held the fourth highest PP% in the league during the 2023-24 regular season. Despite playing a relatively clean contest in Game One, reducing the number of man-advantages for Edmonton is critical.

Kings forward PL Dubois took two penalties in Game One, including an interference against McDavid. Although many debated if his shove into the bench actually warranted a penalty in what was already a very chippy game, it was called, nonetheless. Even though Dubois looked more engaged throughout most of Game One, he’ll still need to deliver more positive contributions if he plans on helping LA move on to the second round.

Game 2​

Game Two was quite a bit different than Game One. Even with the game requiring more than 60 minutes to determine a winner, the Kings were quick to finish things off in overtime via a goal from captain Anze Kopitar less than three minutes into the extra frame.

Coming out of Game One, the goal was to have the Kings shoot from closer to the net. Let’s take a look at their 5v5 shots and see if they were able to accomplish this:


Comparing the above heatmap to that of Game One, it actually looks like the Kings took less shots form right in front of the net than they did in Game One. Keep in mind, they also took fewer overall shots (26 in Game Two, slightly down from 31 in Game One). However, the big differences between these two heatmaps is where the goals originated by both LA and Edmonton. In Game One, LA scored off shots taken mostly far away from the net and Edmonton scored from right in front it. Game Two was the exact opposite. The Kings scored four of their five goals from within the hash marks and Edmonton’s closest goal to the net came from above the faceoff dot.

Digging deeper, Game Two wasn’t much better in terms of high danger shot attempts. The Oilers took a whopping 17, with the Kings limited to just eight. High danger shots are a factor contributing to expected goals, a good measure of shot quality.

In Game Two, the Oilers had 3.23 xG, roughly a full goal ahead of the Kings 2.26 xG. This suggests both teams had some luck, allowing them to each score more than expected. In total, the Kings scored 121% more goals than they were expected to. Essentially, the Kings scored more, with the data indicating there was probably a fair bit of luck involved. Just take a look at Drew Doughty’s goal in the first period:

@LAKings I #GoKingsGo

— Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) April 25, 2024

The puck went in the net, which is what matters, but Doughty didn’t even get a clean shot off. He mishandled the puck which was enough to throw Stewart Skinner off balance, and then the contact between Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Doughty, and Skinner became a factor.

None of this is to discredit LA’s hard work, because they came back looking much sharper than in Game One, but all of the numbers do suggest that Edmonton played a better game. They led in almost every stat category other than goals.

Game 3​

Game Three wasn’t what Kings fans were hoping to see on home ice. LA fell 6-1 to Edmonton, with the Kings lone goal coming from Doughty, his second in two games.

Remember, after Game One, we said the Kings needed to focus on staying out of the box. This did not happen in Game Three. They racked up 47 total PIMs, allowing the Oilers to score three times on the power play. Although many of LA’s penalties were coincidental with Edmonton penalties (i.e. roughing, fighting, and misconducts), they need to find a way to stay out of the box. This Edmonton power play is too good to be giving them free looks with an extra attacker.

Now, let’s take a quick look at the 5v5 heatmap from Game Three and see if the Kings were able to prevent shots from closer to the net.


When comparing this heatmap to the first two games of the series, it’s clear the Oilers took far less shots from in front of the net in Game Three. The Kings were able to force them to the circles and the point to take less dangerous shots.

This is backed up by the xG numbers – where in 5v5 play, the Oilers were only expected to score two goals and the Kings were expected to score 1.5. This suggests the game would have been very close if played exclusively 5v5. But looking at xG in all situations (including power plays), Edmonton’s xG jumps to 4, and LA’s only increases to 2.3. This further illustrates how good Edmonton’s power play is and why it is so important to keep them at even strength. The Kings were not even expected to score one additional goal when factoring in non-5v5 situations, but the Oilers were expected to score an additional 2 goals.

The key to this series continues to hinge on LA’s ability to be keep penalties to a minimum and force the Oilers to take shots from outside the slot. Of Edmonton’s 17 goals in the series thus far, seven have come on the power play. That’s 41% of their total goals. Taking less penalties means less Edmonton power plays, which means less power play goals.

It really is that simple.

Even if it’s easier said than done.


A quick note on goaltending, over three games, Cam Talbot’s goals against average is 5.3 and his save percentage is .861. Not very good, and certainly not good enough to win a Stanley Cup. In his defense, Talbot has played with less defenders for many of those goals.

However, Hiller should at least be considering starting David Rittich to change things up. See our article on who should start in a playoff series for more detailed goaltending stats.


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