Game 8; 5-3-0
EDMONTON — The Los Angeles Kings traveled north in search of their fifth-straight win, but they weren’t in for an easy night as they were set to face 18-year-old wunderkind Connor McDavid for the first time as his Edmonton Oilers looked to snap the silver-and-black’s win streak. In the end, though, it was the Kings who prevailed 3-2, extending their win streak to five — but not before controversy played a role.
It didn’t take long for the Kings to get introduced to McDavid. Just 4:42 into the game, the former Barrie Colt blew in on the wing to challenge Jonathan Quick. While Quick did make the save, the rebound bounced out to Benoit Pouliot, who scored his second to give the Oilers the early lead. Nail Yakupov picked up his sixth assist of the year on the goal. But like they had done quite a few times already this season, the Kings answered right back.
Just 82 seconds after Pouliot’s goal, Jeff Carter tied it, beating netminder Cam Talbot short-side for his third. Milan Lucic extended his point streak to three games with the assist while Drew Doughty chipped in with the second helper.
In the second, the Kings took their first lead of the night.
Jumping on a turnover, Jordan Nolan pushed the puck up to Kyle Clifford who quickly found Anze Kopitar who sniped his third over the shoulder of Talbot to put Los Angeles ahead.
The Kings, who continued to play a sound defensive game, were well-disciplined in this contest as well. In fact, they only had two penalties all night — as did the Oilers — but the second was costly.
Shortly past the halfway point of the third, Brayden McNabb was penalized for tripping. Then, on the ensuing power play, Taylor Hall tipped home a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins shot past Quick to tie the game. Suddenly, Rexall Centre had come alive again. But again, the Kings showed off their resilience.
Just 2:38 after the Oilers tied it, the Kings found themselves on a rare power play themselves. On the man-advantage, the Kings grabbed the lead right back as, in front of a busy net, Tanner Pearson jumped on a loose puck to pot his first of the year underneath a screened Talbot. But while he didn’t find his name on the scoresheet, captain Dustin Brown should be nonetheless commended from creating traffic in front of the net by screening Talbot to give the Kings the advantage. As for who did get on the scoresheet on the goal, that distinction belonged to both Jake Muzzin and Drew Doughty.
Los Angeles then held down the fort until the dying seconds.
Early in this contest, the Kings were introduced to Connor McDavid. However, with just four seconds remaining in regulation, McDavid was introduced to Jonathan Quick as No. 32 reached across to rob the hockey prodigy, snaring the puck on the goal line to preserve the lead and ultimately keep the Kings in the win column for another game.
For his efforts, Jonathan Quick was named the First Star of the Game, turning away 28 shots en route to the victory. With the win, Quick improves to 15-1-5 all-time against the Oilers while the line of Lucic, Carter and Tyler Toffoli continue their success. Speaking of the latter, Sunday marked the end of his four-game goal-scoring streak, but thankfully, that was the only downside to Los Angeles’s game on this night.
Earlier in the day, Tanner Pearson had found out that he would be starting on the Kings’ top line, and he made his opportunity with his game-winner.
Next up for Los Angeles are the Winnipeg Jets, who Jonathan Quick is only a modest 3-3-1 against all-time. Still, the silver-and-black are hopeful that a trip to the MTS Centre will end with a sixth-straight victory.