The Edmonton Oilers have defeated the Los Angeles Kings in six games to advance to the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Game six was a nail-biter featuring countless lead changes, scoring changes galore, and back-and-forth action. But Oilers hero Kailer Yamamoto was able to pot the series-clinching goal with 3:03 left in the third period to send the Oilers into the second round.
Overall, the series was a major high point around the league for how exciting it was to watch. The Kings started strong and took two of the first three games, possibly with some help from the officials, and mostly due to them finding ways to dominate and control play. They were able to get under the Oilers’ skin and draw them into taking unnecessary penalties.
The tone changed for Game 4 as the Oilers won three straight games to defeat the Kings in the first round for the second consecutive season. Leon Draisaitl led the way for the Oilers with 11 points in six games, establishing himself as one of the best playoff performers in the league. While Connor McDavid and Evan Bouchard were close behind with 10 points in the series, the latter playing some of the best hockey of his career.
The historically dominant powerplay the Oilers had during the regular season was a major factor for the team in the playoffs as well, as they were operating at a 56.3% pace in this series.
What’s coming next?
Awaiting them in the second round is the Vegas Golden Knights, who eliminated the Winnipeg Jets in five games earlier this week. They pose an interesting matchup with a healthy Mark Stone, who will be given direction to shut down the likes of Draisaitl and McDavid however he can.
There is not much historical precedent for this series as it will be the first postseason matchup between these two teams. And with how the Golden Knights have developed their game, they should pose an interesting threat to the Oilers’ style of play.
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