- Earlier in the day, the Lakers got past the rival Boston Celtics, behind the heroics of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. It was quite a Lakers buzz, with each Kings player sporting a Lakers-themed #8 or #24 jersey during warmups.
- While the Kings had Mr. Game 7 Justin Williams piling up the playoff heroics, many a Lakers fan could point to Robert Horry as the Lakers answer to Justin Williams. Kobe Bryant or Shaquille O’Neal always seemed to find him for a clutch three-pointer for some big playoff wins. It was nice to see him make an appearance at the ceremonial puck drop:
As for the Game...
Playing consecutive home games in as many nights, it was interesting to see how Los Angeles would respond to the anticipated fatigue factor. Naturally, with games on consecutive nights, Cal Petersen drew the start for the Kings. Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid had been out injured for a few games, and it just so happened that he was returning for his first game from injury against the Kings.
The first period showed much promise for the Kings. Considering that Connor McDavid was back, along with one of the leading point scorers in the NHL Leon Draisaitl, the Oilers didn’t dominate. The Kings checked them tightly, limiting pace, initially showing they could hang. Unfortunately, as good players tend to do, they capitalize on the mistakes of their opponents. Late in the first, those two Oilers turned a Dustin Brown giveaway into a goal for a 1-0 Edmonton lead:
Early in the second period, Los Angeles placed serious bids to tie the score. The Kings tested Edmonton goalie Mike Smith well. First, he thwarted a Dustin Brown’s point-blank shot off an Anze Kopitar feed through the crease. Smith followed by parrying away tipped shots initiated by defensemen Matt Roy, and a Kurtis MacDermid shot tipped by Gabriel Vilardi. Kings defenseman Sean Walker and forwards Austin Wagner and Michael Amadio narrowly missed tying the score as well.
After this early flurry, Edmonton responded with a pushback of their own. Cal Petersen made some glorious saves. The period had turned on the Kings after Ryan Nugent-Hopkins redirected a Caleb Jones shot projected for a few feet wide of the goal, 2-0 Oilers:
From that point, the Kings seemed to indicate that fatigue was setting in from the previous night. Kings coach Todd McLellan shuffled the lines in hopes of stimulating the team’s effort. Whether it was ill-advised pinching by the Kings defensemen, lapse issues in coverage, or the speed of the Oilers, Edmonton generated several outnumbered attacks. It was amazing that Petersen allowed only one of them to get past him, from Connor McDavid:
Despite the numerous odd man rushes, the Kings were fortunate to be down only 3-0. The Kings made a game out of it, however. Late in the second period, Anze Kopitar scored on the power play to put the Kings on the board:
Then early in the third period, Dustin Brown brought the Kings within 3-2:
In the end, Edmonton held on, adding an empty-net goal for the final tally 4-2.
Wednesday, February 26 versus the Pittsburgh Penguins.