The Los Angeles Kings had a successful season. With the early woes the goaltending brought, the goaltending change was what the Kings needed to acquire a playoff spot. With Jonathan Quick and Cal Petersen out, Pheonix Copley and Joonas Korpisalo have given the Kings the goaltending they need in the playoffs.
Los Angeles Kings must play defensive hockey in series
The Los Angeles Kings know the Oilers too well, competing in the same Pacific Division. The Kings know Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl will get their chances. The hope for the Kings is they slow down McDavid and Draisaitl while shutting down the rest of the Edmonton Offense. The Kings’ offense can hold its own, but their offensive structure differs from the Oilers. The Kings provide a slower, wait for your chance, garbage goal type of offense, while the Oilers are fast-paced and quick.
The Oilers’ defense is solid but tends to run around, which the Kings can capitalize on. The Los Angeles Kings have a solid defense first core that is playing good hockey. They have a mix of offensive talent, a physical style of play, and a style that has the possibility of shutting down McDavid, Draisaitl and playing tight in the neutral zone. The neutral zone will be key for the Los Angeles Kings because that is where Edmonton picks up speed heading into the offensive zone.
The Los Angeles Kings began the series on a high note, defeating the Oilers 4-3 on Monday night in Edmonton. Winger Alex Iafallo scored the game-winner in overtime after the Kings were down 3-1 late in the third period. This is exactly what the Kings need to do, play solid defense, wait for Edmonton to cough up the puck and bury the chances given to them. The Kings played patient hockey in Edmonton. They waited for their opportunity to pounce on the Edmonton defense and goaltender Stuart Skinner. Edmonton star forward Connor McDavid produced zero points, one of the few times in his career he has been scoreless. Kings captain Anze Kopitar played well, scoring one goal and adding three assists for a four-point night. The Kings will not necessarily win the series by their offense but by playing exactly how they did on Monday, with suffocating defense.
(Photo: thestar.com; Donna Spencer)
(Photo: latimes.com; Helene Elliott)