Mike Smith, Oilers blank Kings 2-0 in Game 7 to reach second round

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EDMONTON — Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist as the Edmonton Oilers advanced through to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 2-0 Game 7 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

Cody Ceci also scored and Mike Smith made 28 saves for his second shutout of the playoffs for the Oilers, who last won a Game 7 in1998 and celebrated their first playoff series win since 2017.

Jonathan Quick made 39 saves in a losing effort for the Kings, who have not won a playoff series since they won their second Stanley Cup in 2014, also the last year they won a series in a Game 7.

There was no scoring in a tense opening period, with the Oilers putting 10 shots on Jonathan Quick, while the Kings sent seven on Edmonton starter Mike Smith. Quick came into the game with a 4-0 career record in Game 7s.

Edmonton came close to scoring midway though the second when a puck was heading over the goal line in a scramble, but was fished to safety just in time by Kings forward Andreas Athanasiou.

The Oilers finally broke the deadlock with 6:45 remaining in the second period as McDavid fed a pass from behind the net to a pinching Ceci, who rifled a shot over Quick’s shoulder.

Edmonton came close to extending its lead a couple times early in the third as Josh Archibald narrowly missed putting a puck through Quick’s legs and Kailer Yamamoto hit a post with most of an open net to shoot at.

The Oilers finally got some insurance with 3:53 left in the third on a terrific individual effort from McDavid, who drove behind the net before sending his second backhand attempt into it for his fourth goal and league-leading 14th playoff point. McDavid had multiple point efforts in six of the seven games in the series.

The Oilers will now advance to play the winner of the Calgary Flames/Dallas Stars series — which will be decided in a Game 7 of its own on Sunday.

Notes: Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse returned after serving a one-game suspension in Game 6 for head-butting Phillip Danault in Game 5 … There was some concern after Oilers Leon Draisaitl and Brett Kulak missed the morning skate, but both were able to play, leaving the Oilers will a healthy roster to choose from … The Kings remained without Viktor Arvidsson (lower body), Drew Doughty (wrist) and Sean Walker (knee) … There were no scoring changes in any of the games of the series, with the team that scored first winning each encounter.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2022.

Shane Jones, The Canadian Press

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