LA Kings vs Edmonton Oilers Game 3 Preview
The hometown team looks to regain their series lead and stick it to their northern rivals.
Friday, April 21, 2023 — 7:00 p.m. Pacific
Crypto.com Arena – Los Angeles, CA
How To Watch
TV: Bally Sports SoCal, TNT
Radio: iHeartRadio / CHED
Los Angeles Kings
Power Play %: 20.0% (10th)
Penalty Kill %: 50.0% (16th)
Goals/Game: 3.00 (T-8th)
Goals Against/Game: 3.50 (T-10th)
Power Play %: 50.0% (1st)
Penalty Kill %: 80.0% (7th)
Goals/Game: 3.50 (T-5th)
Goals Against/Game: 3.00 (T-5th)
Los Angeles Kings
Goals: Adrian Kempe (2)
Assists: Anze Kopitar (3)
Points: Anze Kopitar (4)
PIM: Alex Iafallo (4)
Goals: Leon Draisaitl (3)
Assists: Leon Draisaitl (2)
Points: Leon Draisaitl (5)
PIM: Evander Kane (6)
The Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers split the series 1-1 up in Canada and although the scores were close by the final buzzer, that doesn't necessarily match the teams' gameplay.
According to NHL.com, the Kings are underwater when it comes to net shot attempts – that is, they're allowing more attempts than they're able to generate themselves.
So far, only Vladislov Gavrikov, Gabriel Vilardi, and Matt Roy have been able to somehow stem the tide and generate offense for the team. While Vilardi only played 12 minutes in Game 2, he still managed to score a goal when it seemed like none of the team could even get into Edmonton's zone, let alone attempt a shot on net.
The top pairing of Drew Doughty and Mikey Anderson have had a rough go of it having been tasked primarily with shutting down the line of Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Zach Hyman. Both Doughty and Anderson were -12 each in the first game and -8 and -7 respectively in game two. They, along with the rest of the team, have shown marked improvement and have been so far successful in keeping Edmonton's top line off the board. However, they'll need to be much better if they hope to keep LA alive in the playoffs.
Having the last change at home, Todd McLellan may consider trying to keep his fourth line away from Leon Draisaitl as much as possible. Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft frequently seized on the favorable mismatch and it paid off early for them on Wednesday. Arthur Kaliyev, Rasmus Kupari, and Carl Grundstrom, acting mostly as a shutdown line, have not been great. They have all allowed 15+ shot attempts against in both games. If the team can manage not to fall behind early, it should give the struggling fourth line a much needed boost. Or at least, it'll hopefully ease some of the pressure.
Keys to the Game
- "Full 60"
- Depth Decisions
It's easy to say players should "be ready at puck drop". Going up against two of the best players in the world is not simple task. However, the Kings would do well to be more aggressive and bring their game to the Oilers. So far, they've let Edmonton dictate the pace of play and have fallen behind early and often.
Stopping Leon Draisaitl is admittedly going to be difficult but it bears repeating that McLellan has last change and he should strongly consider hard matching Anze Kopitar, Adrian Kempe, and Quinton Byfield to Draisaitl's line. As has been pointed out a million times in the past, Draisaitl is one person. Sure he's an incredibly talented one, but the key to stopping him is to prevent his linemates from having success. Derek Ryan only scored because everyone was so focused on what Draisaitl was doing. That's not to take anything away from Ryan, but he's not exactly the "who's who" of NHLers. Your car is less effective when one of the tires if flat. Make two of his tires go flat.
Sing it with me now: B-E AGGRESSIVE, B-E AGGRESSIVE. As noted earlier, the Kings have been playing on their heels from puck drop. Sure Danault and a few others have managed to score, but that's when they stop looking for the perfect pass and just play the system they know and love (or, well, is set up and taught to them by McLellan). Through two games, Gavrikov leads the team in shot attempts with 45. Right behind him are Matt Roy (45), Trevor Moore (33), Danault (30) and Arvidsson (30). Gavrikov and Roy are also the only two players on the team who are net positive in shot attempts. Whatever it is that they're doing, the rest of the team needs to emulate it. And once more, with gusto: B-E AGGRESSIVE!
The game starts tonight at 6 p.m. PDT and is available on TBS, CBC, SN, TVAS, BSW, and LA Kings Audio Network.
(All SAT stats come courtesy of NHL.com and the line match-ups come from shiftchart.com)