Oilers beat Kings 4-2 in Game 2 to tie first-round series

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    Klim Kostin broke a tie at 2:20 of the third period and the Edmonton Oilers beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-2 on Wednesday night in Game 2 to tie the first-round Western Conference playoff series.

    Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists to help Edmonton rebound from a 4-3 overtime loss in the opener. Derek Ryan and Evander Kane — into an empty net — also scored for the Oilers.

    Oilers celebrate a first period goal

    Edmonton Oilers’ Evan Bouchard (2), Zach Hyman (18), Leon Draisaitl (29) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) celebrate a goal against the Los Angeles Kings during the first period of Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series Wednesday, April 19, 2023, in Edmonton, Alberta.  (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

    “Both games, I thought we controlled the bulk of the play,” said Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft “In both games, we had a couple of minutes we’d like to have back.”

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    NHL scoring champion Connor McDavid had an assist and Stuart Skinner made 23 saves in his first NHL playoff victory.

    Joonas Korpisalo stopped 33 shots for Los Angeles. Gabriel Vilardi and Philip Danault scored for the Kings. Vilardi returned after missing the last nine games of the regular season and first game of the series because of a lower-body injury.

    Game 3 is Friday night in Los Angeles.

    Oilers celebrate a first period goal

    Edmonton Oilers’ Evan Bouchard (2), Zach Hyman (18), Leon Draisaitl (29) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) celebrate a goal against the Los Angeles Kings during the first period of Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series Wednesday, April 19, 2023, in Edmonton, Alberta.  (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

    The Kings have been outplayed for significant stretches of both games, and have been awful in first periods. On Wednesday, they managed just three shots on goal in the opening frame.

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    “The first 20 (minutes), not good. The next 40 was pretty good,” said Danault. “Actually, we played pretty good hockey and it seemed like the play was more slowed down. It was a good overall 40 minutes, but we’ve got to play 60.”

    On the go-ahead goal, Draisaitl’s neutral-zone check on Arthur Kaliyev along the boards forced a turnover for Kostin to skate the puck into the zone and wire a shot to the far side on Korpisalo.

    Edmonton took a 2-0 lead in first period and Los Angeles struck twice in the second.

    Oilers celebrate their Game 2 win

    Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74), Leon Draisaitl (29) and Brett Kulak (27) celebrate the team’s 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 2 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series Wednesday, April 19, 2023, in Edmonton, Alberta.  (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

    “We came out flat in the first period, but we made a game of it,” said Vilardi. “Obviously, Korpi was a big factor in that. But we’ve got to put together a solid 60 minutes. We haven’t played great for the majority of the game.”

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    The focus for the Kings is to be good right from Game 3’s opening faceoff. They can’t afford to fall behind 2-0 again. They can’t just hope for their netminder to hold them in the game.

    “We need a better start, but the character was there,” said Danault. “We came back again. We proved we can do that. Now, we have to go the other way.

    “We can do better than that. We can take the lead, maybe. We don’t always have to catch somebody.”

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