Kempe scores twice, Kings outlast Oilers to take 5-4 OT victory

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EDMONTON — Three point nights from Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid couldn't save the Oilers.

Now Edmonton's season is on the line.

The Oilers clawed their way back from a two-goal deficit to force overtime in Game 5 of their first-round matchup with the Kings on Tuesday, but fell 5-4 in overtime thanks to Adrian Kempe's second goal of the night.

L.A. now holds a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series with Game 6 set for their home rink on Thursday. Edmonton needs a win to stave off elimination.

"They showed their heart in fighting back but we didn't help ourselves by finding ourselves down early. We have to correct that," said Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft.

"(We're) going to L.A. to win one game. Pressure's on them to close us out and for us, our job is to find a way to have a good start to first period."

Draisaitl had two goals and an assist in the loss, while McDavid scored and contributed a pair of helpers. Zack Kassian rounded out the scoring for Edmonton and Mike Smith stopped 38-of-43 shots.

"We found ways to produce offence. And we scored four tonight. That needs to be enough in a playoff game," McDavid said. "Obviously it’s not. We’ve got to keep the puck out of our net.”

Kempe scored and had an assist for the Kings in regulation, while Troy Stecher, Andreas Athanasiou and Phillip Danault all had goals. Jonathan Quick made 24 saves for L.A.

"I think at the beginning of the series if someone would have said would you take 2-2 and go into overtime for Game 5, we would have taken it for sure," Danault said.

"That’s what we said when we came (into overtime) and we had a big first shift and then right away in the second shift (Kempe) capitalized. It’s just a great mentality that we have and we wanted to win another game here."

The Oilers came into the third period down 3-1 but used their special teams to claw their way back into the game with two power-play goals and a short-handed tally.

Blake Lizotte was sent to the penalty box 2:47 into the final frame for high-sticking and just three seconds into the man advantage, McDavid sent a backhanded shot off the crossbar and in over Quick, sprawled in the crease.

The goal was the second of the playoffs for the Oilers' captain.

A four-minute minor set up a flurry of action after Ryan McLeod was called for a high stick on Matt Roy 9:13 into the third.

The Kings took a 4-2 lead at the 11:06 mark when a backdoor shot from Danault trickled over the goal line.

L.A. stayed on the power play, but it was Edmonton who scored next.

McDavid drove the net then sliced a puck into the slot where Alex Iafallo tried to sweep it away but put it instead on Draisaitl's tape. The star sniper sent it into the back of the net to make it 4-3 at the 12:33 mark.

The Oilers scored the equalizer on yet another man advantage with 4:52 left in regulation after Danault was called for interference.

Collecting a slick pass across the slot from McDavid, Draisaitl hammered a one-timer from the bottom of the faceoff circle for his fifth goal of the playoffs and his second of the game.

Edmonton was 2 for 3 on the power play Tuesday and L.A. went 1 for 5.

“We do have to watch our sticks and be a little more disciplined going forward here," Draisaitl said. "We can't can't play half the game or quarter of the game short-handed. So it takes a lot of guys out of the game. So we'll fix it.”

Kempe scored 1:12 into overtime, muscling his way past his defender and wrapping a shot around Smith to secure the victory.

"There is still a lot to play for," Kempe said. "We’re obviously very excited where we’re at right now, it was a great win for us and our confidence is good, but we have to rest our mindsets tomorrow. We can enjoy it tonight and play as good as we did tonight at home on Thursday."

The Kings controlled the shot clock across the first, outshooting the Oilers 16-5, despite Edmonton having the lone power play of the period.

Woodcroft said his side is aware that slow starts are costing them games.

"There’s some small things we can do in terms of establishing the forecheck, starting with the puck off the opening faceoff, shooting more. All things that can help a team establish some momentum and get some zone time," he said. "It's almost a turf-war for zone time. They had it in the first period."

Stecher opened the scoring 3:43 into the game with a slap shot from about the faceoff circle for his second goal of the playoffs.

Kassian temporarily injected some life into the listless Oilers with a goal 2:32 into the second.

McDavid picked up a rebound and instead of trying to force it in past Quick, the captain took it around the back of the net and found Kassian, who popped a shot in over defenceman Mikey Anderson lying in the crease for the equalizer.

It was the first goal Edmonton scored in four periods after being shutout 4-0 in Game 4 on Sunday.

The Kings retook the lead midway through the second after Kopitar picked off a pass at the Oilers' blue line.

He took a few strides into the Edmonton zone before slicing a pass to Kempe, who nearly lost the puck but reached behind himself to retrieve it before firing a wrist shot past Smith to make it 2-1 at the 9:29 mark.

A patient play by Athanasiou boosted the Kings' lead to 3-1 in the middle frame.

Dustin Brown collided with Zach Hyman in the Oilers' zone and took off with the puck, slipping a pass to Athanasiou, stationed at the side of the net. Athanasiou waited for Smith to dive, then sent a shot into the far corner of the net 13:34 into the second.

Despite the win, Kings head coach Todd McLellan isn't satisfied.

"It was good for us, but we’re going to have to be better in the next game, much better," he said.

NOTES: Game 5 marked the first in the series to go to overtime … Athanasiou slotted back into L.A.'s fourth line in place of Gabe Vilardi … Derek Ryan returned to the Oilers' lineup after missing Game 4 with an undisclosed injury.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2022.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

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