EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers made it look easy but insisted eliminating the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference First Round in five games with a 4-3 win on Wednesday was anything but.

It was the third consecutive season Edmonton, the No. 2 seed from the Pacific Division, eliminated Los Angeles, the No. 3 seed from the Pacific, in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and each time it took fewer games: seven, six, five.

“I think we’re probably a better team this year than we were last year or the year before, we’re more mature, which plays a big part sometimes,” Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl said. “But that’s a really good team over there, they make it hard on you. It’s an absolute grind against them every night. Hats off to the way they compete and play the game. That being said, we did a really good job of getting our minds ready for that and mentally being ready for the challenge.”

Edmonton will play either the Vancouver Canucks or Nashville Predators in the second round. Vancouver leads that best-of-7 series 3-2. Game 6 is at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Friday (7 p.m. ET; MAX, TNT, BSSO, SN, TVAS, CBC).

For the Oilers, this season’s playoff series against the Kings was decided by special teams. Edmonton scored on nearly half of its power-play opportunities (9-for-20, 45 percent) and Los Angeles was 0-for-12 on the man-advantage.

Officially, the Oilers scored one goal on the power play in Game 5, but for all intents and purposes, had three with the man-advantage.

Draisaitl’s goal at 7:44 of the second period was the only official one scored on power play. He scored again at 12:21 on set-up from Connor McDavid, four seconds after a holding penalty to Pierre-Luc Dubois expired and the Kings forward had yet to get back in the play.

Zach Hyman scored in similar fashion at 19:07, three seconds after a penalty to Kings defenseman Drew Doughty had expired.

McDavid was asked after the win which half of the special teams he thought was more impressive?

“I would say the penalty kill, not giving up a goal that’s real impressive,” the Oilers captain said. “The job that those guys did, killing big ones along the way. I think of the penalty kill in Game 4 in the third period (of a 1-0 win), that’s huge. I thought everybody on the kill was moving their feet and doing their job and sacrificing their bodies, which is not the most fun thing to do. The kill not giving up one is a great thing.”

Oilers advance to the second round of the playoffs

The Kings had the 12th-ranked power play during the regular season, converting at 22.6 percent. Their penalty kill was even better, ranked second at 84.6 percent, but had few answers for the Oilers' power play.

“Our power play gets a lot of momentum from creating and having success,” Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “I know it works both ways, so to be able to sniff that out and to have our PK rolling like it did in this series it definitely is something that we’re all proud of.

“We can definitely still keep pushing. Whoever is next is going to be a new challenge, so we look forward to that. It’s fun to be on both sides of it for sure. Special teams throughout the whole season plays a big part of any game, but when it comes down to playoffs, it can be the difference-makers and I think special teams is huge for us this series and we want to keep building on that.”

Of the four wins in the series, Edmonton might have been proudest of the Game 4 victory in Los Angeles on Sunday. The Oilers were outshot in the game 33-13 but found a way to win on the strength of Stuart Skinner's first playoff shutout and a power-play goal from defenseman Evan Bouchard.

Winning games in that manner is a sign of maturity, according to McDavid.

“We’ve been in these situations before and that’s maybe where you can draw on your experience,” McDavid said. “Experience and maturity; we’re not a young team here, we have lots of guys that have played in big games and in big situations, and those ups and downs and those momentum swings are all part of it.”

Winning the opening game of a playoff series for the first time since the second round in 2017 set the tone against the Kings. The Oilers lost Game 2, 5-4 in overtime, but were able to regroup and win both games in Los Angeles, setting up the elimination game Wednesday.

“You think about the series, we get off to a good start, kind of give momentum away but we were able to get it back and I think that shows some growth,” McDavid said. “I think for us also finding a way to stack some games, get it to 3-1 and finish off the series in Game 5, that’s a big step for our group. A lot of good signs, but it’s only one series.”

After defeating the Kings in six games last season, the Oilers lost in the second round in six to the Vegas Golden Knights, who went on to win the Stanley Cup. In 2022, Edmonton defeated the Calgary Flames in five games in the second round and were swept out of the Western Conference Final by the Colorado Avalanche, who went on to win the Stanley Cup.

“I think there’s a level of comfort having been through this a few times,” Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse said. “I think that adds to the calm within our game and being able to weather different storms. It was a good sign of what’s to come, but there is still so much hockey that we’re hoping to play throughout the rest of the spring here. For us it’s important to keep picking it up.”