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The Key Three: April 2

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Three key aspects of the Kings’ 2-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers...

The Kings scored two goals last night. In each case, a veteran player made the perfect pass, and a young player made the perfect shot. First, Anze Kopitar -- yes, he’s only 24 but he’s now a six-year veteran -- patiently held the puck behind the net before he fed it to Slava Voynov, who ripped a shot from the top of the circle that beat Devan Dubnyk. Then, on a 2-on-1, Mike Richards went wide, wide, wide, then slid across a pass to Dwight King, who went to the front of the net and showed great skill and poise to beat Dubnyk from close range. Kopitar and Richards made the plays that top players should make. King and Voynov performed above their age and experience.

Disaster easily could have struck for the Kings as they nursed a 1-0 lead less than five minutes into the third period. After a collision, Trevor Lewis got his stick up and drew blood from Colten Teubert, which resulted in a four-minute Oilers power play. Edmonton entered the game with the NHL’s second-best power-play percentage this season. The Kings shut them down, and didn’t allow a single shot on goal in four minutes. Just as they did two days earlier in Minnesota, the Kings killed a double-minor high-sticking penalty. Against the Wild, that kill allowed the Kings to preserve one point. Against the Oilers, it allowed them to preserve two points.

Even without injured star Taylor Hall, the Oilers have a scary amount of young talent up front. They can skate and they can move the puck and create scoring opportunities in a heartbeat. But, for the second time in four days, the Kings did a stellar job of limiting the Oilers’ chances in the offensive zone. Jonathan Quick earned his 10th shutout of the season, so he certainly did everything that was asked of him, but a huge chunk of credit goes to the Kings, overall, for limiting the Oilers to 19 shots on goal, including five in the decisive third period. In their two games against the Oilers in the past week, the Kings had a 69-33 advantage in shots on goal.
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