Phillip Danault scored 14:46 into the third period and the L.A. Kings held off the Edmonton Oilers for a 4-3 win in Game 1 of their first-round playoff matchup on Monday.
Trevor Moore and Alex Iafallo each scored and had an assist for L.A., and Brandon Lemieux contributed a goal.
Connor McDavid and Kailier Yamamoto replied with a goal and an assist apiece, and Leon Draisaitl rounded out the scoring with a power-play tally.
L.A. goalie Jonathan Quick made 35 saves for the win and Mike Smith stopped 31-of-35 shots for Edmonton.
The Oilers finished the regular season second in the Pacific Division with a 49-27-6 record to earn home ice advantage and fans responded by packing Rogers Place with a sold out crowd for the opening game.
Edmonton is in the playoffs for the third straight season but last year’s run was brief, with the Winnipeg Jets ousting the Oilers in the first round with a four-game sweep.
Moore opened the scoring 11 minutes into Monday’s game, ripping a shot from inside the face-off circle over Smith’s outstretched glove.
He then set Iafallo up to give L.A. a 2-0 lead 16:52 into the first. Stationed bellow the goal line, Moore sent Iafallo a behind-the-back pass and Iafallo wasted no time putting it into the Oilers’ net.
Edmonton cut the deficit before the end of the opening frame with another highlight-reel worthy goal from McDavid.
The Oilers’ captain sprinted the length of the ice, holding off several Kings defenders, and fired a snap shot past Quick to make it 2-1 with 42 seconds left in the first.
Chants of “M-V-P! M-V-P!” followed from the boisterous crowd. McDavid won his fourth Art Ross Trophy this season after posting a league-best 123 points.
The Oilers evened the score early in the second with a power-play marker after Iafallo was called for tripping.
Duncan Keith fired a long-range shot and Yamamoto tipped it in from the back door 2:39 into the period.
The score didn’t stay knotted at 2-2 for long. Lemieux sent a shot sailing from the top of the faceoff circle off a rush 3:50 into the second to restore the Kings’ lead.
Edmonton equalized again midway through the period with another power-play goal after Iafallo was called for cross-checking.
McDavid sent a pass flying from the boards with the puck ricocheting off a broken stick in the slot before Draisaitl settled it and blasted a quick shot past Quick 9:56 into the second.
Edmonton went 2 for 4 with the man advantage on Monday and L.A was 0 for 4.
The Kings took the lead for a final time 14:46 after Danault found space between Smith and his post.
Moments earlier, the goalie tried to clear the puck from behind the net and instead put it on the stick of a L.A. player in front. Smith made a diving save but couldn’t corral the puck and seconds later a long bomb went over his shoulder.
Game 2 goes Wednesday in Edmonton. The series shifts to L.A. for Game 3 on Friday.
NOTES: Defenceman Darnell Nurse returned to the Oilers’ lineup after missing four games with a knee injury. … The Kings were playing without Viktor Arvidsson, who left practice early on Saturday. The winger had 49 points (20 goals, 29 assists) in 66 games this season. … Monday marked the first playoff game between the Oilers and Kings since 1992 when Edmonton bested L.A. in a six-game series in the division semifinals.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 2, 2022.