EDMONTON -- Connor McDavid will be difficult to contain in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs if Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday was any indication.

McDavid became the first player in 26 years to have five assists in a playoff game in a 7-4 win against the Kings at Rogers Place. Game 2 is Wednesday in Edmonton (10 p.m. ET; CBC, TVAS, SN, BSW, TBS, MAX).

“He’s 95 away from 100,” said Zach Hyman, who scored each goal of his hat trick on primary assists from McDavid. “He’s a special player, obviously. When he plays like that, he controls the game. He doesn’t need to score; he is just setting up everybody and he set me up three times. He’s been doing it all year, that’s what he does.”

McDavid is the 14th player in NHL history to have at least five assists in a playoff game. Wayne Gretzky did it twice.

Geoff Courtnall of the St. Louis Blues was the last to do it, getting a goal and five assists in an 8-3 win against Los Angeles in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal on April 23, 1998. 

“We have to do a better job against McDavid’s line, that’s the clear takeaway,” Kings interim coach Jim Hiller said. “And that was 5-on-5, not just the power play, that was 5-on-5 too. Who are the three guys (forwards) that can do the job there, that’s the question for us tonight that we have to figure out.”

LAK@EDM R1, Gm1: McDavid records 5 assists in Game 1

McDavid had 132 points (32 goals, 100 assists) in 76 games during the regular season. He became the fourth player in NHL history to have 100 assists in a season, and the first since Gretzky had 122 for the Kings in 1990-91.

McDavid picked up exactly where he left off in the opening game of the playoffs, setting up Hyman for the game’s opening goal at 6:52 of the first period. He found Hyman again at 4:50 of the second period to make it 3-0 and picked up his third assist on a power-play goal from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at 8:24.

The Kings tried to mount a comeback and were able to cut it to 4-2, but McDavid set up Leon Draisaitl on the power play at 1:08 of the third period to make it 5-2. He then assisted Hyman on the power play at 6:17 to restore Edmonton’s four goal lead at 6-2.

The Oilers finished 3-for-4 on the power play in the game.

“They have a great (penalty) kill, they were the No. 1 kill all year long and we have a lot of respect for that group,” McDavid said. “We were prepared and we have some good players on that (power-play) unit making good plays, and that shot by ‘Leo’ is incredible, I’m not sure how you stop that. I thought we were able to hit them a couple of different ways, which is good, because it leaves them to have to figure it out. With that being said, we have a few things up our sleeve still, which I think is a good thing.”

With the win, the Oilers ended a seven-series drought where they lost Game 1. Edmonton had not won the opening game of the series since defeating the Anaheim Ducks in the 2017 Western Conference Second Round.

“It doesn’t change anything, you want to win every game,” McDavid said. “We’d want to win Game 2 even if we lost. We want to win Game 2 even though we won Game 1. It doesn’t change much. We have to come out with that same urgency and that same desperation and be ready to roll.”

McDavid said getting off to a quick start was the key against the tight-checking Kings, who like to clog the neutral zone.

“It’s really important, starts are really important especially against a team as well-structured defensively as the Kings are,” he said. “You have to get out to a good start. It helps if you can score the first one and it kind of forces them to open up a little bit.

“I thought we played a really connected game. I thought all five guys were working together even if we had to dump it in, I thought we had good numbers on the forecheck, but ultimately, we didn’t have to dump it in all that much because we were connected coming through there and that’s what it requires.”

Having teammates able to finish off their chances was also key. Hyman had a career year playing alongside McDavid this season with 54 goals. He had never scored a hat trick in a playoff game previously.

“Zach’s smart,” McDavid said. “He’s a smart hockey player, he knows where to go, he gets himself to the front of the net and he gets himself lost. That’s a skill that maybe the fans don’t see, but it’s a skill nonetheless, but he’s real good at it.”