Kings, Oilers battle in playoffs for third straight season

The rivalry between the Kings and Oilers will reach new levels when the two teams meet for the third straight year in the postseason.
Los Angeles Kings v Edmonton Oilers
Los Angeles Kings v Edmonton Oilers / Leila Devlin/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers are both in the Pacific Division and have been making the playoffs a habit. The two teams face off in the first-round of the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs beginning tonight in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The format will go the first two in Edmonton, next two in Los Angeles, then the final games switch from Edmonton to Los Angeles, with the Oilers getting games five and seven.

Kings, Oilers ready for playoff battle again

The Oilers have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. The Kings have Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty. They have earned a playoff spot through different paths but they are here and it should be no surprise that these two franchises face-off again in the playoffs. The first-round schedule goes as follows:

Game 1: Kings at Oilers April, 22 10p.m. ET (ESPN2, SN, CBC, TVAS)

Game 2: Kings at Oilers April 24, 10p.m. ET (TBS, MAX, SN, TVAS)

Game 3: Oilers at Kings April 26 10:30 p.m. ET (TBS, MAX, SN, TVAS)

Game 4: Oilers at Kings April 28 10:30 p.m. ET (TBS, truTV, MAX, SN, SN1, TVAS)

Game 5; Kings at Oilers May 1 (TBD)

Game 6: Oilers at Kings May 3 (TBD)

Game 7: Kings at Oilers: May 5 (TBD)

KIngs, Oilers have history; Season recap

The Kings and Oilers have some playoff history. Los Angeles is 16-32 all-time versus Edmonton in the playoffs.The Oilers dominated the Kings in 2022 (seven games) and again in 2023 (six games). Los Angeles looks to switch roles this playoff season and are determined to take out their Pacific Division rival. but it will not be easy. This season, Edmonton is 3-1 against Los Angeles this season but the stars for both teams came up big offensively. For Los Angeles, young star Quinton Byfield led the way in points, as he scored two goals and three assists for five points in the four games. Anze Kopitar, Matt Roy, and Adrian Kempe had two assists a piece, while Trevor Moore had a goal and an assist. For Edmonton, McDavid led the way with two goals and five assists for seven points. Draisaitl had six points on two goals and four assists and Evan Bouchard led the defense offensively with two goals and three assists for five points.

During the regular season, the stats for both teams were fiarly close. Goals -per-game favored Edmonton (3.56 to 3.10), Goals-against-average went to the Kings (2.56 to 2.88), Edmonton had the better power play (26.3% to 22.6%), Los Angeles had one of the better penalty kill units all season (84.6 % to 79.5%), The Oilers had the better home record (28-9-4 to 22-12-7), and Los Angeles had the better road record (22-15-4 to 21-18-2).

For the Kings, they were led offensively by Kempe (28-47-75) and Doughty (15-35-50), while the Oilers were led by McDavid (32-100-132) and Bouchard (18-64-82). In goal, Los Angeles had 2024 NHL All-Star Cam Talbot between the pipes (27-20-6, .913 save percentage, and a 2.50 goals-against-average). Goaltender Stuart Skinner (36-16-5, .905 save percentage, and a 2.62 goals-against-average led the Oilers,

Players to Watch

Pierre-Luc Dubois

The Los Angeles forward was acquired in the off-season from the Winnipeg Jets and came in with high expectations. This season was a big disappointment from his offensive projections as he produced 16 goals and 24 assists for 40 points in 82 games. Not bad for a player in the NHL but he was expected to produce more and these stats are far below his per-season average and he was not considered an offensive threat. When he cam to the Kings, he was thought of as that missing piece for a Stanley Cup so he has some work to do to prove everyone wrong. The first half of the season he struggled mightily but picked it up in the second half. If he can continue to find his offensive game, he could very well be that missing piece that leads this team to a lenghty playoff run.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

The "unforgotten" offensive weapon for the Oilers came up big the past two seasons with solid offensive production. This season, he had 18 goals and 49 assists for 62 points, one season after scoring 37 goals and 67 assists for 104 points. While his production was down this season compared to last, he still found a way to provide secondary scoring. He is capable of leading this team in the playoffs, scoring 39 points on 10 goals and 29 assists in 49 career playoff games. while McDavid and Draisaitl grab most of the attention on the offensive zone, Nugent-Hopkins is someone that the Kings need to be more aware of because of the damage he can do if given a small amount of space.

The Oilers are dangerous and can score at will. The Kings have a solid forward group that can supply offense but will play a grind -it-out style with a good puck possession game. The goaltenders on both sides have carried their respective teams at points throughout the season. What decides this series? Maybe we should taker a look at the depth at each position because that could be a huge factor at which team moves on to round two.