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Oilers punch ticket to Round 2 with takedown of Kings

Andy Devlin / National Hockey League / Getty

For the third consecutive season, the Edmonton Oilers eliminated the Los Angeles Kings to punch their ticket to the second round of the playoffs.

This time, the Oilers dispatched their Pacific Division rivals in five games. Edmonton took down L.A. in seven contests in 2022 and in six outings in 2023.

Leon Draisaitl was key to Edmonton's 4-3 victory Wednesday night with a two-goal performance, while Zach Hyman scored the eventual winner.

Draisaitl is now up to 36 career playoff goals, tying him with Craig Simpson and Paul Coffey for the sixth-most in franchise history.

"It's fun," the German superstar told Sportsnet's Gene Principe postgame. "I like helping my team win when it matters most. It's always my goal to be a big-time player. For the most part, I think I've done that in my career, but hopefully I can keep it going a little bit."

Edmonton did most of its damage in the second period. Blake Lizotte gave the Kings their first and only lead of the game early on in the frame, but Draisaitl scored back-to-back tallies and Hyman capped off the run of three unanswered goals.

Los Angeles forward Adrian Kempe made things interesting in the final minutes of regulation by drawing his team within one, but that's as close as the Kings would get.

Evander Kane opened the scoring for Edmonton in the first stanza, but Alex Laferriere capitalized on a wild carom in the last minute of the period to enter the intermission tied at 1-1.

Stuart Skinner turned aside 18 of 21 shots to help backstop his team to victory. At the other end of the rink, David Rittich surrendered four goals on 26 shots in his fourth career postseason appearance.

The Kings haven't won a playoff series since 2014.

"They're always extremely hard to play against," Draisaitl said. "They certainly don't make it easy on you. Hats off to that group over there, we've battled with them a lot over the last couple years here. It's a great team over there, but so are we."

Next up for Edmonton is a meeting with the Vancouver Canucks or Nashville Predators. The former leads that series 3-2 with Game 6 scheduled for Friday.

Last spring, the Oilers fell to the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round.

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