Kane hat trick powers Oilers to decisive 8-2 win over Kings in Game 3

·6 min read

LOS ANGELES — Evander Kane wanted to honour his ailing uncle on the ice on Friday.

The Oilers winger stepped up, scoring a hat trick that powered Edmonton to a lopsided 8-2 win over the L.A. Kings in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.

Family has been key for Kane during a tumultuous season, and he wanted to have a big game for his uncle, Leonard Kane, who is in hospital.

“The beginning of the year was very tough with a lot of different things going on in my life. It’s a real credit to my family helping me through everything," he said. "There’s been a lot of trials and tribulations and it’s nice to turn the page and start to move forward in a positive way.”

Kane wasn't the only Oiler to put in a big performance on Friday.

Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had two goals and an assist, while Leon Draisaitl contributed one of each for Edmonton as it took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Cody Ceci had three assists, while Connor McDavid and Evan Bouchard each had two.

Mike Smith made 44 saves to collect the 13th playoff win of his career.

“The most important thing is we found a way to get the win," said head coach Jay Woodcroft. "I thought there was lots to like in our game. Contributions up and down the lineup, big-time goaltending, special teams were good again. It was a good game again for us tonight.”

The Kings replied with a goal and an assist from Anze Kopitar, and a goal from Philip Danault.

Edmonton chased L.A. netminder Jonathan Quick midway through the second period after he allowed four goals on 19 shots. Cal Petersen stopped 16 of 20 in relief.

L.A.'s head coach Todd McLellan was succinct in describing what went wrong, meeting with media for just 26 seconds after the game.

"We can do this really quick tonight. I can summarize it for you, we can all go home," he said. "We weren't any good, we're really disappointed, we got trapped playing their game. You could ask me about individuals, I'll give you the same answer for all of them — they weren't any good and we have to regroup tomorrow."

The series continues with Game 4 in L.A. on Sunday before returning to Edmonton for Game 5 on Tuesday.

Kane completed the fifth hat trick of his career — and his first in the playoffs — with just 19.7 seconds left on the clock, sending a wrist shot past Petersen to seal the score at 8-2.

Nugent-Hopkins put away two goals 81 seconds apart late in the third period.

His first came 14:19 into the frame when he collected a puck from Hyman and blasted a snap shot past Petersen from the hash marks, shattering his stick in the process.

He tipped in his second of the night at the 15:40 mark.

The Kings finally got their first power-play goal of the series 17:29 into the second after Derek Ryan was called for interference on Blake Lizotte.

Seconds into the man advantage, Kempe fired a slapshot at Smith. The goalie stopped the initial blast but Danault was there to collect the rebound and backhand it into the Edmonton net to make it 5-2.

L.A.'s power play has struggled through the series, going 1 for 12 across three games, and 1 for 4 on Friday.

The Oilers were 1 for 3 with the man advantage in Game 3 and improved to 5 for 11 in the series.

Edmonton's special teams have begun to return to the same high form they showed early in the season, said captain Connor McDavid.

"We kind of got away from that in the middle of the season and our five-on-five game got real solid and the special teams kind of dropped away," he said. "It takes all types of … power play, penalty kill, five-on-five, it takes all of it. So I thought our penalty kill’s done a great job.”

L.A got on the board at the 10:07 mark when Kopitar muscled his way past Draisaitl down low and backhanded a shot past Smith, cutting L.A.'s deficit to 5-1.

The goal was the first Smith conceded in 95 minutes and 21 seconds of play.

Edmonton went up 5-0 just 16 seconds earlier when Ceci launched a long bomb from inside the blue line and Kane batted in a rebound from the top of the crease for his fourth goal of the playoffs.

Hyman scored his second of the night 7:42 into the second, beating Andreas Athanasiou to a puck along the boards and driving to the net before sending a shot in from the hash marks.

L.A. pulled Quick after the goal and Petersen took over the Kings' net.

Ceci notched his first assist of the night 6:27 into the second, picking off a Kings' pass at the blue line and sending it in to the front of the net, where Kane tucked a shot around Quick's outstretched leg to give Edmonton a 3-0 cushion.

The Kings outshot the Oilers 19-7 across the first but Edmonton made the most of its opportunities.

Hyman bumped the lead to 2-0 just 6:07 into the opening frame, deflecting in McDavid's shot from inside the faceoff circle on a power play. The goal was his first of the playoffs.

The Oilers opened the scoring 3:50 into the game during a stretch of four-on-four hockey after L.A.'s Brendan Lemieux and Edmonton's Brett Kulak were called for roughing.

Draisaitl and McDavid used the open ice to break off for a two-on-one with McDavid carrying the puck. He sliced it across the slot to Draisaitl, who snapped a shot in behind Quick for his third goal of the playoffs.

Edmonton handed L.A. a 6-0 drubbing in Game 2 on Wednesday, but McDavid said he's most proud of how his team has found ways to win games.

"That’s all that matters this time of year," he said. "It doesn’t really matter how it looks or what happens. I think we’ve done a good job of playing well, playing hard, we’ve been physical. They kind of pushed back today and I thought we responded well.”

NOTES: L.A. right-winger Carl Grundstrom sat out with an injury. He was replaced in the lineup by Gabe Vildardi, who became the ninth Kings player to make his playoff debut in the series … The Kings played their first home playoff game since 2018 when they were swept by the Vegas Golden Knights in a first-round series.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2022.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

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