Skip to content

Kopitar’s OT winner lifts Kings to 5-4 win over Oilers, even series at 1-1


The Los Angeles Kings weren’t about to bow out quietly.

Anze Kopitar scored the overtime winner and had a pair of assists as the Kings knocked off the Edmonton Oilers 5-4 to tie their opening-round playoff series 1-1 on Wednesday. Kopitar scored just 2:07 into overtime after a weird bounce gave him a lane up the centre of the ice and he beat Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner high to the glove side.

“Honestly, it was kind of a wacky play where Mikey (Anderson) throws it up the boards, and I think it was Q (Quentin Byfield) who tipped it, or was trying to tip it just to prevent the icing. Next thing you know, I had it right on my stick, so I figured I’d make the most of it,” Kopitar said.

“To see Kopi get that one at the end, great to see the goal go in, but I can tell you for me personally, and I’m sure the guys, just for a guy that’s done as much as he has, to get another overtime game-winning goal was special,” said Kings head coach Jim Hiller.

“One game for them, one game for us and now we go to L.A.”

Adrian Kempe, with a pair of goals, Drew Doughty and Kevin Fiala also scored for Los Angeles, which is looking for revenge after being knocked out in the first round by the Oilers the previous two seasons. Cam Talbot made 27 saves.

“We all didn’t feel good about our first game, so we had a lot to prove this game and everyone stepped up their game and Kopi led the way,” said Byfield, who had two assists, including one on the overtime winner. “Leaders lead and that’s what we did, we just followed him and it was a lot better.”

Dylan Holloway scored a pair of goals, while Brett Kulak and Zach Hyman also responded for Edmonton. The Oilers failed to win the first two games of a playoff series on home ice for the first time since the second round in 1990. Skinner stopped 21 shots.

“I thought we played a good game and had the puck most of the night,” said Oilers defenceman Mattias Ekholm. “They are going to have their looks and their bounces, but I still liked the way we played and hopefully we can build off of that.”

The Kings opened the scoring just 3:19 into the first period. Kopitar fed the puck to Kempe, who sent a wrist shot past Skinner for his second of the playoffs.

The same duo gave Los Angeles a two-goal advantage with 5:03 to play in the first. Kopitar’s pass deflected in front to Kempe, who corralled the puck and batted it out of mid-air and past Skinner.

Kulak put Edmonton on the board with 2:27 to play in the first period. Leon Draisaitl dropped it back to Kulak in the high slot and he got all of it for his second career playoff goal.

However, just 29 seconds later, the Kings responded when Doughty was sent in on a breakaway and scored despite losing control of the puck, as the momentum took it through Skinner’s legs. It was Doughty’s first playoff goal since 2014.

Edmonton pulled back to within a goal 7:51 into the second period. Holloway scored his first career playoff goal on a hopeful shot from distance.

Hyman tied the game up at 10:33 of the middle frame on the power play. He unleashed a wicked one-timer on a feed from Draisaitl for his fourth of the post-season.

Fiala restored the Kings’ lead just 1:46 into the third period when he sent a long shot on net from the side boards that surprised Skinner.

Holloway quickly knotted it back up 3:23 into the third period. He picked the top corner to eventually send the game to overtime in just his third career playoff game.

“In the first period we dug ourselves a big hole being down 2-0 and 3-1, but after that I thought we played a lot better, especially in the second period,” said Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch.

“I felt like if we were ever able to get the lead we could have finished the game, but we were never quite able to do that.”


The series now shifts to Los Angeles, with Game 3 taking place on Friday.