Will the Kings Close Out the Series tonight?
Here we ae at the Crypto.com Arena, waiting to see the Los Angeles Kings win and then move on to the next round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The problem with that scenario is this: Oilers want to win and go back to Canada for a decisive (in their favor) Game 7.
After Game 3 reporter Claudia Gestro asked Kings defensive man Alexander Edler about skating against elite players like Connor McDavid. Edler said, “It’s always a challenge when you play players like that. Elite Player … You give them time and space they will make you pay.”
And McDavid, along with Leon Draisaidl have been unstoppable. In this series Draisaidl has two short-handed goals and McDavid has scored on the power plays … actually Draisaidl scored on power plays. When the entire Edmonton team gets involved layers like Kailer Yamamoto, Darnell Nurse — who is suspended for one game — and Evander Kane who scored a hattrick in Game 3.
The Kings know they will need to stay focused a full 60 minutes and avoid the penalty box, which means no stupid penalties. The Oilers are one of the best teams when it comes to power plays. As head coach Todd McLellan told Claudia Gestro, “Let’s face it, they (the Oilers) had at least one power play goal in each game. So based on that it’s 1-0 when the night starts. They (The Oilers) were that good — and they are that good.” McLellan added this little warning, “The odds of going throughout the night without any penalties are slim to none so our guys had to step up and it starts with the goaltender and he (Jonathan Quick) made some outstanding saves when he needed to. And then some players around him did some things that we needed them to do and I thought that was a good sign. I thought our power play was beginning to show some improvement. So we are improving, but our team has to improve in the playoffs.
“The question I’m going to ask our guys is, ‘Have we learned our lesson yet?’”
McLellan saw some improvement, but everyone knows — especially the players — that to continue winning the Kings need to improve their special teams, power plays and penalty kills, to go deep io these playoffs. We have watched the Oilers decimate the Kings, keeping it in the L.A. zone and pounding goalie Jonathan Quick until the Kings either take it away or the Oilers score.
We have watched Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl score short-handed goals in this series. To win Game 6 the Kings cannot allow the Oilers to score when the Kings have the power play. And if the Kings get anther five-on-three power play opportunity they need to put the puck in the net.
When the Kings are on the power play they need to swarm that Oilers net and pepper Edmonton goalie Mike Smith with more shots and rebounds than he can defend.
We will see tonight if the Los Angeles Kings go on to the next round, or if this series heads back to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It would be exciting for Los Angeles fans if they could see their team close out the series at home.
Go Kings Go!
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