Game 1 was played the way that the Edmonton Oilers would have hoped, and yet they still didn’t get their desired outcome.
From the beginning of the contest, the first game of the Western Conference First Round series between the Oilers and Los Angeles Kings had a lot of pace to it. There was plenty of back-and-forth action that led to a plethora of scoring opportunities.
LA got out to an early lead in shots, and eventually, a 2-0 advantage. Edmonton was able to tie the game at two but was never able to pull ahead of the Kings. In total, 74 shots were launched on goal, which I would have expected to yield positive results for the Oilers.
These two division rivals play very different brands of hockey, as the Kings prefer to play a low-scoring, defense-first game. That was not what happened on Monday, but Los Angeles won anyway.
The Oilers were bested at their own game in Game 1.
Now, Edmonton has lost home-ice advantage, and a Game 2 win becomes crucial to a team that will leave home and play the third and fourth games of this series on the road. How, though, can the Oilers get that win?
Edmonton already outshot the Kings in Game 1, so don’t expect that to be a deciding factor. They got two goals and one assist from the combination of Leon Draisaitl and captain Connor McDavid, so it’s not as though they didn’t show up in the series opener.
The biggest thing I would watch for the Oilers to do differently is to start the game with a heightened sense of urgency. McDavid and company need to push the pace early and find a way to grab a lead before they have to battle back as they did on Monday.
If a game in this series requires four goals to win, I would expect Edmonton to win more often than not. However, if the Kings can once again beat the Oilers at their own game, this series may be over before it really even gets started.
Game 2 between the Oilers and Kings is on Wednesday night in Edmonton.