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Bouchard blast helps Oilers snap skid, clip Kings 4-2

EDMONTON — It was an opportune time for the Edmonton Oilers to rediscover their game.

Leon Draisaitl and Evan Bouchard each had a goal and an assist as the Oilers snapped a three-game losing skid with a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday.

Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored and Connor McDavid had a pair of assists for the Oilers (34-20-2) who moved two points up on the Kings for the third and final playoff spot in the Pacific Division.

“It’s probably good timing the way our game was trending lately, to have a game where you have to play simple and stay in it the whole 60,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “We did a great job of that.”

Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner made 38 saves for the win.

“I think this is more of the recipe that we are looking for,” said Oilers defenceman Mattias Ekholm. “I thought we handled it really well and that it was a 60-minute game for us and that maybe we haven’t had too many of them as of late. This was as close as we have gotten in the last 10 games or so.”

Trevor Moore and Alex Laferriere replied for the Kings (29-18-10) who had won five of their previous six.

“We were in a good spot going into the third and they had a better jump than we did at the start and we couldn’t get our momentum back there. We took a couple of penalties and after that it was a tough night,” Moore said.

“I thought we had a good 40 going and it goes to show you how fast it can flip, but we’ll rebound.”

The Kings started the scoring 6:45 into the opening period as the puck came off the back boards to Quinton Byfield and he shovelled it back to Moore who beat Oilers starter Skinner with a wrist shot for his 22nd. It was the eighth time in the last 11 games that the Oilers surrendered the first goal.

Edmonton came close to knotting it up with seven minutes left in the first period as Hyman had Kings netminder David Rittich beat with a backhand shot, but rang the puck off the post.

Hyman made up for that miss with 24 seconds to play in the first, taking a feed from McDavid at the left faceoff dot and blasting a one-timer past Rittich for his team-high 38th goal of the season — extending his goal-scoring streak to five games in the process. McDavid extended his home-game point streak to 23 games, his personal-best streak.

Los Angeles moved back in front with 12:26 to play in the second period as Oilers defenceman Bouchard badly missed a check to allow a two-on-one which was finished off by a glove-side snipe by Laferriere for his eighth.

The Oilers evened it up again on the power play with four minutes to play in the second period as Bouchard sent a shot from the point that was deftly deflected by Draisaitl for his 29th.

Bouchard continued to atone for his earlier gaffe, putting the Oilers in front for the first time just 1:25 into the third frame as he unleashed a bomb from the point that beat Rittich high to the glove side for his 15th, moving him into a tie for the league lead for goals by a defenceman with Calgary’s MacKenzie Weegar.

The Oilers put the game away with 3:29 to play as Connor Brown made a great pass up to Nugent-Hopkins heading to the net with speed and he chipped home his 16th.

“I think this was good for us, having a victory against a quality opponent and especially a team we were tied with going into it,” said Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch.

NOTES

It was the third of four meetings between the two teams, which played each other in the first round of the playoffs the last two seasons, with Edmonton prevailing both times. The Oilers won the first contest 3-2 in a shootout on Dec. 30 in L.A. The Kings then won 4-0 at home on Feb. 10. The fourth and final game takes place March 28 in Edmonton. … The Kings were without the services of Mikey Anderson (undisclosed). … Journeyman forward Mattias Janmark started the game on the second line after scoring three of his four goals this season in the last four games. … Oilers captain McDavid now has 23 consecutive assists since his last goal on Feb. 6 against the Vegas Golden Knights.

UP NEXT

Kings: Visit the Calgary Flames on Tuesday, their second stop on a three-game trip.

Oilers: Play the final game of a five-game homestand on Wednesday against the St. Louis Blues.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2024.

Shane Jones, The Canadian Press