Manor Postgame Tidbits: Kopitar Scores In OT; Kings Even Up Series With Oilers

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And just like that, it’s a whole new series.

The Kings defeated the Oilers on Wednesday night with a 5-4 win in overtime and headed back to LA with a 1-1 split.

LA needed to have a better start than they did in a dismal Game 1, and they did so. A pair of goals from Adrian Kempe in the opening frame quickly established the momentum in LA’s favor. Kempe is a player who has given Edmonton serious trouble over the past two years; he now has eight goals in his last eight contests against the Oilers. The second of Kempe’s goals will raise the eyebrows of many MLB scouts, as well.

JUICY START TO THIS GAME
🧃
🚨
@LAKings I #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/6t3H6cxRQj

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


KEMPE WITH A RIDICULOUS MID-AIR DEFLECTION
🤯
pic.twitter.com/XxCGkQ0evB

— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) April 25, 2024


It’s important for the Kings to have a top player in Kempe produce consistently against a team like the Oilers, but LA would undoubtedly still appreciate more scoring from their bottom-six. This will be a focus of coach Jim Hiller as he continues to sort out the lower part of his lineup.

After the Oilers tied the game on yet another goal for Zach Hyman, the teams traded two quick goals early in the closing frame, sending a tumultuous Game 2 into overtime.

There, captain Anže Kopitar recorded his third career playoff OT goal, and in the process set a Kings franchise record in this category. The goal came off an assist from Quinton Byfield, who now has three helpers early on in this series.

On April 24, 2024, Anze Kopitar set an @LAKings' franchise record for playoff overtime goals. Kopitar passed Butch Goring, Wayne Gretzky, and Alec Martinez when he scored his third career playoff overtime goal in a 5-4 win versus the Edmonton Oilers.#LAKings #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/8L43JxKMgE

— The Kingstorian (@Kingstorian) April 25, 2024


Getting It Done Quickly: Kopitar’s goal came 2:07 into the extra period. Over the past two series, the Kings have also received OT goals from Kempe and Trevor Moore, which came 1:12 and 3:14 into OT, respectively. LA has shown an ability to wrap up post-regulation playoff games early, which is important given the need for as much rest as possible during a postseason series.

Winning the Period: A good way to break up a given playoff game is to look at how the night went by period. In Game 2, the Kings won the first, lost the second, tied the third, and won overtime. All that matters is coming out on top in as many segments as possible, which is something the Kings were able to turn around after a disappointing Game 1.

Stat Sheet Takeaways: Carl Grundström recorded only a puzzling 25 seconds of ice time in Game 2. It’ll be fascinating to see if Hiller makes any lineup adjustments heading into Friday’s contest, such as going back to the 11+7 format or perhaps swapping out Grundström for a different forward. As has been demonstrated countless times by Hiller, however, never become too confident his lineup decisions are long-term.

PK Improvement: The penalty kill once again wasn’t perfect, but it only allowed one goal on three opportunities. Against the Oilers and their lethal power play, that will be good enough most of the time. Throughout the rest of the series, the Kings will need to focus on reeling in the amount of penalties they’re taking, in addition to tidying things up when down a man.

Momentum (?) Established: Each of the past two series against the Oilers has resulted in a split after the first two games, with Edmonton going on to win the series in both. Last year, specifically, the Oilers, won three of the next four games after a rebound effort in Game 2. The Kings will look to do the same, and momentum will be on their side. They’ve taken back home-ice from Edmonton, and playing the next two games in front of their home crowd will serve as a great opportunity to keep it going.

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