Kings relying on veterans as series vs. Oilers moves to L.A.

Kings relying on veterans as series vs. Oilers moves to L.A.

Fresh off a resilient victory that changed the course of their first-round Western Conference playoff series, the Los Angeles Kings return home for Game 3 on Friday against the Edmonton Oilers.The Ki

Fresh off a resilient victory that changed the course of their first-round Western Conference playoff series, the Los Angeles Kings return home for Game 3 on Friday against the Edmonton Oilers.The Kings evened the best-of-seven series at a game apiece Wednesday when they took a pair of two-goal leads, weathered an Oilers comeback and won the game 5-4 a mere two minutes into overtime on the most fortunate of goals from Anze Kopitar.If there was anybody that knew hope remained after a 7-4 defeat in the series opener, it was Kings veterans Kopitar and Adrian Kempe. An 18-year Kings stalwart, Kopitar added a pair of assists, both on first-period goals from eight-year mainstay Kempe as Los Angeles dictated the early play.”We’ve talked about that before in the playoffs, there’s usually ups and downs within the series, within the game, so you just have to be prepared for that and just kind of go about it the next shift and try to make the most of it,” Kopitar said.One of those downs could have been the Oilers’ two-goal second period in Game 2 that tied the score 3-3. But the Kings took the lead again on a goal from Kevin Fiala only for Edmonton’s Dylan Holloway to send another ominous sign by tying the score again 97 seconds later.Los Angeles’ game-winning goal was pure fate after Mikey Anderson sent the puck from the Kings’ zone toward the left boards near center ice. Quinton Byfield tipped the puck with his stick, and a fortuitous deflection sent it toward the Oilers’ goal and straight into the path of Kopitar, who was on the rush.Kopitar beat Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner with the game-winner just inside the right post.”Let’s say I was intending to pass it to Kopi,” Byfield said with a grin on the Bally Sports broadcast. “No, I was just trying to get a touch on it so it wasn’t icing. Kopi, as he always does, was supporting the puck and he was in the right place at the right time and it worked out.”

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