Evander Kane wanted to honor his sick uncle on the ice on Friday.
The Oilers wing climbed, scoring a hat-trick that helped Edmonton score a lopsided 8-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 3 of the first-round series.
Family has always played a major role in Kane’s life during a turbulent season, and he wanted to have a big match with his uncle Leonard Kane who is in the hospital.
“It was a very difficult start to the year with so many different things going on in my life. It is a real credit to my family for helping me with everything,” he said. “There have been so many trials and tribulations, and it is good to turn the page and start moving forward in a positive way.”
Kane wasn’t the only player to put in a great performance on Friday.
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Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored two goals and an assist, while Leon Draisaitl contributed one each as Edmonton advanced 2-1 in the best of seven series.
Cody Cisse had three assists, while Conor McDavid and Evan Bouchard each had two.
Mike Smith saved 44 balls for his thirteenth playoff win of his career.
“The most important thing is that we found a way to win,” said coach Jay Woodcroft. “I thought there was a lot to like about our game. The contributions were up and down the squad, goals scored hugely, special teams are good again. It was a good game again for us tonight.”
The Kings responded with a goal and a pass from Anzi Kopetar, and a goal from Philip Danault.
Edmonton chased down Los Angeles quarterback Jonathan Quick midway through the second half after allowing four goals on 19 shots. Cal Petersen halted 16 of 20 in relief.
Los Angeles coach Todd McClellan was succinct in describing what went wrong, meeting with the media for just 26 seconds after the game.
“We can do it really fast tonight. I can sum it up for you, we can all go home,” he said. “We weren’t good, we were really disappointed, we got caught playing their game. You can ask me about the individuals, and I’ll give you the same answer for all of them – they weren’t good and we have to regroup tomorrow.”
The series continues with Game 4 in Los Angeles on Sunday before returning to Edmonton to play Game 5 on Tuesday.
Kane completed his fifth hat-trick of his career – and his first in the playoffs – with just 19.7 seconds on the clock, sending a wrist shot past Petersen to seal the score 8-2.
Nugent Hopkins scored twice in an 81-second interval late in the third half.
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His 14:19 debut came in the frame when he collected a disc of Hyman and fired a quick shot past Petersen from the hash marks, smashing his wand in the process.
He was leaning at two in the night at 15:40.
The Kings finally got their first power play in the series 17:29 in the second after calling in Derek Ryan to tackle Blake Lizotte.
Seconds after the man’s lead, Quimby fired a quick shot at Smith. The goalkeeper stopped the initial blast but Danault was there to collect the rebound and hit it with a backhand kick past Edmonton to make it 5-2.
The Los Angeles strongman struggled through the series, going 1 for 12 across three games, and one for 4 on Friday.
Oilers was 1 vs 3 with the man advantage in Game 3 and improved to 5 vs 11 in the series.
Captain Conor McDavid said Edmonton special teams are beginning to return to the same high level they showed early in the season.
“We kind of got away from that in the middle of the season and our five-legged game got really strong and the special teams sort of fell out,” he said. “It takes all kinds of… power play, penalty kicks, five against five, it takes all of that. So I thought our penalty shootout did a great job.”
Los Angeles got onto the plate at the 10:07 mark when Kopetar smashed his way past Draisaitl and shot a backhand past Smith, reducing L.A.’s deficit to 5-1.
The goal was the first conceded by Smith in 95 minutes and 21 seconds of play.
Edmonton took a 5-0 lead just 16 seconds ago when Cisse fired a long bomb from inside the blue line and Kane rebounded off the top of the crease to net his fourth goal in the playoffs.
Heymann scored his second goal of the night at 7:42 per second, beating Andreas Athanasio to the puck along the boards and driving into the net before sending a hash-mark shot.
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Los Angeles withdrew Quick after the goal and Petersen dominated the Kings net.
Ceci made his assist for the night at 6:27 per second, taking the Kings’ pass on the blue line and sending it to the front of the net, with Kane firing a shot around Quik’s outstretched leg to give Edmonton 3-0 a cushion.
The Kings outperformed the Oilers 19-7 through the first but Edmonton made the most of his chances.
Hyman shocked the lead with a 2-0 6:07 lead only in the opening frame, deflecting a McDavid shot from inside the showdown circuit in a power game. The goal was his first in the playoffs.
The Oilers opened the scoring 3:50 in the game during a four-to-four hockey period after calling in Brendan Lemieux of Los Angeles and Brett Colak of Edmonton for roughing.
Draisaitl and McDavid used the open ice to break a duet with McDavid holding the puck. He cut it through the hole to Draisaitl, who smashed a ball past Quick to net his third goal in the playoffs.
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Edmonton handed Los Angeles 6-0 in Game Two on Wednesday, but McDavid said he was very proud of the way his team found ways to win games.
“That’s all that matters this time of year,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter how it looks or what’s going on. I think we did a good job playing well, we played hard, we played physically. They were kind of deterred today and I think we responded well.”
Notes: Los Angeles right winger Karl Grundstrom sat injured. He was replaced in the lineup by Gabe Vildardi, who became the Kings’ ninth player to make his first playoff game in the series…The Kings played their first home playoff game since 2018 when they swept the Vegas Golden Knights in a first-round series.