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McDavid seeks urgency from Oilers in Game 2 against Kings

NHL's leading scorer was held without point in OT loss to open Western 1st Round series

by Derek Van Diest @DerekVanDiest / Staff Writer

EDMONTON -- Connor McDavid is looking for a big effort from the Edmonton Oilers when they try to rebound from a Stanley Cup Playoff-opening loss for a second straight season.

"The past doesn't predict the future here," the Oilers captain said Tuesday, a day after Edmonton lost 4-3 in overtime to the Los Angeles Kings at home in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round. "I liked what we did last year in Game 2, I thought we've played well in Game 2s historically, but I don't think that means a whole lot come puck drop on Wednesday. It's a big one for us and I would like to see some urgency."

Game 2 of the best-of-7 series will be here Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; ESPN, CBC, SN, TVAS, BSSC).

To McDavid, Game 1 felt like one that got away from the Oilers, who twice led by two goals in the third period.

Alex Iafallo scored a power-play goal at 9:19 of overtime after Anze Kopitar had tied it 3-3 for the Kings on the power play with 17 seconds left in the third. The tying goal came with goalie Joonas Korpisalo pulled for the extra attacker, giving Los Angeles a 6-on-4 advantage..

"We were 15 seconds away from winning," McDavid said. "We put ourselves in a good spot. We'd liked to close that one out, obviously, but we didn't and it's time to move on to the next one."

McDavid did not have a point in Game 1 and was minus-2. The center led the NHL with 153 points (64 goals, 89 assists) in 82 games this season and ended it on a 16-game point streak (29 points; 10 goals, 19 assists).

"It's disappointing to lose a game no matter what the time of the year, but especially when you lose a game like that," McDavid said. "Certainly, we put ourselves in a good spot and we'd like to close that out. There was lots to like about the game. I thought we did a lot of really, really good things and gave ourselves a chance to win. I would say we carried the play for most of the first 40 minutes. I thought we checked well, but they scored a couple of power-play goals and got a couple of bounces here and there."


[RELATED: Complete Oilers vs. Kings series coverage]


The Oilers were in the same situation last season in the first round against the Kings, losing 4-3 at home in Game 1. They won 6-0 in Game 2 at home and 8-2 in Game 3 at Los Angeles. Edmonton won the series in seven games after losing Games 4 and 5.

Leon Draisaitl and Evan Bouchard scored in the first period Monday to give the Oilers a 2-0 lead. Edmonton had chances to increase the lead in the second period. Bouchard came closest, hitting the crossbar on the rush at 13:10.

"I thought we had a lot of good looks to make it 3-0 throughout the second period," McDavid said. "Obviously, if it becomes 3-0, then it's maybe a different game. But I thought their goalie stood in there and made some good saves. That being said, if you could find a way to make it 3-0, that would have been great."

Adrian Kempe scored his first of two goals 52 seconds into the third period to make it 2-1. Draisaitl scored again to extend the lead to 3-1 at 8:46, but Kempe cut it to 3-2 at 11:23.

"I think the first couple of minutes of the third period are really big, just to kind of hold it down and continue the momentum, and giving one up early there is not ideal," McDavid said "But I thought we did a good job recovering. Sometimes when we're holding the lead we have a tendency to sit back a little more, and I thought we did that a little bit too much and allowed them to feel good. I thought we checked well but took too many penalties. You can't take six penalties in a playoff game."

The Kings were 2-for-6 on the power play. The Oilers were 1-for-3.

McDavid, playing with left wing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman, played 25:24, the most ice time of any forward on either team.

"I thought we did some good things," McDavid said. "we'd like to find a way to contribute offensively. Defensively, we gave up a face-off goal on kind of a scramble play."

Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said he liked the play of his top line despite the loss. He does not expect to make changes to his lines for Game 2.

"I think they severely outshot their opponents at 5-on-5," Woodcroft said. "I thought they didn't take the game over, but in terms of territory or territorial advantage, gaining zone time and establishing shots, I think they were right there. It didn't go in for them, but at the same time, there was lots of good in their game too."

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