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Edmonton Oilers Offence Continues to Dominate

The Edmonton Oilers offence has been known to cause all teams issues for multiple seasons now. Unfortunately, no team knows that better than the Los Angeles Kings, who have had an impossible time dealing with it in the playoffs. This season, it looks to be more of the same. Through three games, the Edmonton Oilers offence has put up 17 goals. And while the Kings did take one game, if they can’t figure out a way to slow this team down, they will have a short time remaining in the 2024 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Edmonton Oilers Offence Causing Issues

The Oilers took Game 1 7-4 and Game 3 6-1, scoring in outbursts against the LA Kings. In both games, the Oilers scored the first three goals, most of those occurring in the first period. This has put the Kings in a spot they simply can’t comeback from. This Edmonton team is built on skill and speed, and any effort to get into a run-and-gun game will be trouble. However, in Game 2 it was the Kings who struck first.

They had three goals in the first period, which forced the Oilers to play from behind. And while the Oilers did force overtime, LA ultimately came out on top. The Kings took a more subtle approach, trying to limit the chances Edmonton had. The Oilers had just 12 high-danger attempts in regulation. For comparison, they have had 29 over the other two games combined.

If the Kings want a chance in this series, they need to play ahead. The Oilers have shown they are still vulnerable to defensive breakdowns, but those need to be capitalized on efficiently.

Seasons Past

Last year, the Kings let up four or more goals in all four games they lost. It was Joonas Korpisalo in net for that series, and when he got beat, it wasn’t pretty. The two games the Kings did manage to take, they held the Oilers to two and three goals a piece. It seems simple enough, the less goals you allow the better chance you have to win. However, that is amplified against this Oilers team.

The Oilers have cleaned the play in their own end up quite a bit over the past few seasons. This year, they ranked in the top 10 for fewest shot attempts, high-danger chances, and expected goals allowed. This is a great improvement on years past. However, that makes it even more critical for their opponents to be equally as strong defensively.

The Edmonton Oilers offence has shown it has multiple players who can win a game. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl lead the way. But Zach Hyman, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Evander Kane is an elite supporting trio. Because of this added depth, you can no longer play as free. In years past, if you could limit the damage of McDavid or Draisaitl, this team became very vulnerable. Often times we would see any depth scoring dry up completely, leading to success. This allowed teams to play more freely with high tempo when the big guns were off of the ice.

Depth is Critical

Now, we are seeing an Edmonton team that can score in so many ways. Names such as Warren Foegle, Adam Henrique, and Dylan Holloway have factored into the scoresheet this series. What used to be an advantage for a team like LA, has turned into more of a struggle to keep an even playing field with this new Oilers depth.

On top of that, the big names haven’t gone anywhere either. In fact, McDavid looks better than he ever has in the playoffs. All of this makes for a tough situation, how do you contain this offence? And while there is no perfect answer, LA will need a couple of things to go right.

What LA Needs

1 – Stay out of the penalty box:

This Oilers team has been a historically good power play for multiple years now. If you are taking upwards of four or five penalties a game, you are going to get burnt. The Kings need to hope the trend of the playoffs being less penalized continues, as playing as much of this series at 5v5 is crucial.

2 – Key players need to step up:

The Kings have built their team to have more depth than their opponents. And while the Pierre-Luc Dubois trade has been a mess, now would be as good of a time as ever to get a difference-maker. However, other names such as Kevin Fiala and Viktor Arvidsson need to do their part too.

3 – Shutdown defence:

This is the hardest, but most crucial. The Kings need to shutdown the middle of the ice in their own end. Force the Oilers to stay to the outside, and don’t let those cross-crease passes go. The Oilers create so many of their chances by drawing teams in and then finding someone like Hyman standing wide open in front, because the pressure was drawn elsewhere. If the Kings want a chance in this series they need to avoid this. Using their speed to counterattack and create chances off the rush will be critical.

Edmonton Oilers Offence Needs to be Stopped

The Kings won’t be able to outscore their problems at a high volume against this Edmonton team. They are just too good. Instead, they will have to focus on playing perfectly in their own end and capitalizing where possible. If they can’t do that, the Edmonton Oilers offence will continue to dominate this series.

Main Photo: Yannick Peterhans-USA TODAY Sports


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