GAME 6 FINAL – Kings 2, Oilers 4 – Roy, Kopitar, McLellan

The LA Kings were unable to capitalize on a comeback effort, falling by a 4-2 final in Game 6 on Thursday evening at Arena. The Kings and Oilers will now play Game 7 on Saturday evening in Edmonton.

Defender Sean Durzi and forward Carl Grundstrom each scored in the game, while Jonathan Quick made 33 saves in defeat.

Edmonton opened the scoring less than two minutes into the game as McDavid collected his series-leading tenth point. The Hart Trophy nominee entered the offensive zone, circled the net and wrapped the puck around and in on Quick, McDavid’s third goal of the series and the lone goal of the opening period.

The Oilers began the second period in a similar fashion to the first period, with a goal inside the first two minutes of play, to open up a 2-0 advantage. With the puck at the left point, defenseman Brett Kulak sent a shot on goal that was deflected on the way through by forward Evander Kane at the top of the crease and in, for his series-leading sixth goal.

The Kings answered late in the frame, however, as Durzi collected his first career postseason goal. With the hosts on the man advantage, forward Adrian Kempe set up Durzi for a one-timer at the center point, with the rookie defenseman firing through traffic and in for his team’s first night, with the Kings scoring on the power play in consecutive games.

Less than 30 seconds into the third period, the Kings tied the game at two off a pinpoint passing play in the offensive zone. Moving in from the right point, defenseman Matt Roy showed poise in finding the open man in front, Grundstrom, who snapped home his third goal of the series to knot the game early in the third.

With just over five minutes to play in the third period, after a back-and-forth period, the Oilers found the game-winning goal through defenseman Tyson Barrie. Forward Leon Draisaitl drew defensemen to him down the right wing, creating an open lane for Barrie through the slot, and the defenseman snapped home his wrist shot for the eventual game-winning goal.

With just under a minute to play, Kane picked up his second goal of the evening into the empty net for the 4-2 final.

Hear from defenseman Matt Roy, forward Anze Kopitar and Head Coach Todd McLellan following the Game 6 defeat.

Matt Roy

Anze Kopitar
On what he feels the Kings need to do better heading into Game 7
Just be a little bit more resilient. I think maybe the thought of ending the series kind of creeped into our mind and we started off a little attempt. Credit to them, they obviously had a good start, but just spend more time in the offensive zone and send more pucks to the net.

On why he thinks the team was a bit tentative to start the game
I mean, the older guys haven’t been there in a few years and we have a few guys that haven’t experienced this at all. It’s natural, but if you told us that we had to win one game in advance, we’d certainly take the opportunity. It’s not all that bad, we’re going to fly up there tomorrow and get ready for Game 7.

On the differences between closing out a series, versus another game
Somebody a few years ago said that usually the fourth game is the toughest one to win, I’m pretty sure you know who that is. Obviously there’s something to it. We would have liked to close it out, but it didn’t happen and we’ve got to move on, look ahead to Saturday.

On the pushback with a power-play goal late in the second period
Yeah, it’s the playoffs, it’s going to be tight. We were down 2-0, it didn’t phase us too much. We knew we needed to get one on the power play at some point, so that was big and then obviously tied it up pretty early in the third. We just couldn’t push it over the line.

On if there’s anything that needs to be said to the younger players for a Game 7
I think the younger guys have done a really good job of stepping into roles the whole season, certainly this series. I think, as of right now, they know what it takes and I’m not worried about that at all.

Todd McLellan

On the notion of Edmonton flipping the scripts tonight with a good start and puck possession
Well, they’re a pretty good hockey club, they’re allowed to play to their best and I thought they got to a level that they weren’t at in Edmonton, which is fine. I thought we responded well throughout the night. This reminded me a lot of Game 1, where it was pretty even back and forth, there wasn’t anything lopsided about the game. Our quarterback-receiver connection wasn’t where it needed to be, it was erratic, and obviously when we went to pass, the passer was not real clean and the receiver sometimes wasn’t handling the puck real well. When you do that, we go back to Games 2 and 3 when we didn’t pass the puck well. We’re not a real good offensive juggernaut when that happens and it was a big part of the game tonight.

On if there are any “young players” at this stage in the season
I think there’s logic to that, but there’s also experience under duress that some of them haven’t experienced. Obviously Kopi, Phil Danault, Brown, the big four that are here and some that have played a lot of playoff games, they get the moments, the mood swings if you will. The younger players, sometimes they adapt really quick to it, sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming for them, but they have to experience it, it’s a different monster.

On special teams building momentum late in the second period
I think that special teams in this series haven’t won or lost games, per say, but they’ve created momentum a lot, for different teams, in different situations. I thought that did it for us tonight, the special teams.

On how he felt the group handled McDavid and Draisaitl tonight as a pair
I thought we were fine, we had to double-team them, we knew that was going to happen, whether it was Phil or Kopi, for the most part they were on the ice. I look at the goals that they were involved in, the wraparound a real good play by Connor early in the game, so psychologically, they got what they wanted. Then, a huge error on our behalf on the winning goal, it’s preventable, it’s avoidable, but we made it, it’s why we play the game. Somebody’s going to make mistakes and the other team is going to capitalize. When you’ve got those offensive weapons that they have, you’ve got to minimize them.

On reestablishing and focusing the team ahead of Game 7
We were that today, so we’ve had a dress rehearsal. We’ll be that again two days from now and we have enough experience, guys that have been through this before. Again, I talked about pressure this morning, we like this situation. If somebody said hey, the LA Kings against the Edmonton Oilers, go play for one game, we’re not particularly happy with how we got to it tonight, but we can’t do anything about that now, so let’s look ahead. We’ve won there before and we can win there again.

Notes –
– Sean Durzi scored his first career postseason goal, as well as his first career postseason power-play goal, in the second period.
– Carl Grundstrom scored his third goal of the postseason, tying himself with Phillip Danault for the team lead through six games played.
– With his assist on Durzi’s goal, Anze Kopitar tied Luc Robitaille (48) for second on the Kings all-time assists list during postseason play.
– Adrian Kempe tallied his fourth assist and sixth point of the playoffs, leading all Kings skaters through six games played. Kempe has four points (2-2-4) over the last two games.
– Mikey Anderson and Matt Roy each tallied their first career postseason point.

The Kings are scheduled to skate tomorrow morning at 10 AM at Toyota Sports Performance Center, before departing for Edmonton later in the day.

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