Edmonton Oilers vs. LA Kings: Series Preview

Mar 30, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) and Los Angeles Kings forward Viktor Arvidsson (33) look for a loose puck during the second period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 30, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) and Los Angeles Kings forward Viktor Arvidsson (33) look for a loose puck during the second period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s official: The 2023 Western Conference Quarter Finals will feature a rematch between the Edmonton Oilers and the Los Angeles Kings. The Oilers managed to squeak out a win in 7 games last year, but things have changed.

This year’s Kings lineup will feature several key players not part of last season’s series, including Drew Doughty, Viktor Arvidsson, Viachislav Gavrikov, and Joonas Korpisalo.

The Oilers have received a boost, too, however. Their big additions include Mattias Ekholm, Nick Bjugstad, Mattias Janmark, Klim Kostin, and Stuart Skinner. With that in mind, let’s examine how these two squads match up in this first-round series.


The  Edmonton Oilers have the most electric offence in hockey this year, scoring a whopping 3.96 goals per game (1st). McDavid, Draisaitl, Nugent-Hopkins, and Hyman all had career years, and when you add the passing ability of Bouchard, Ekholm and Nurse, the Kings will have a daunting challenge trying to shut them down.

The most significant difference with the Oilers’ offence this year is the depth. 4th liners such as Zack Kassian and Josh Archibald struggled in the postseason last year. This time, the Oilers will enter the series with a group that has outscored opponents at even strength without McDavid and Draisaitl on the ice for the first time since 2017.

While the Kings may not have Edmonton’s star power, they are offensively underrated. LA has scored 3.34 goals per game (10th), and their depth has been fantastic. Between Kevin Fiala and Viktor Arvidsson, the Oilers will have more offensive weapons to worry about this series than last year.

Overall, the edge offensively goes to the Oilers due to their top-end talent and improved depth, which will make it more challenging for LA to take advantage when McDavid steps off the ice.

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When it comes to keeping the puck out of the net, the Kings and Oilers are neck and neck this season. The Oilers gave up 3.12 GA/GP (17th), while the Kings have given up 3.09 (16th). However, the season totals are a bit deceiving, as the Kings struggled between the pipes until they acquired Joonas Korpisalo before the trade deadline. Ever since, their goals against have plummeted.

The most notable aspect of this defence core is their ability to prevent high-danger chances, having given up the second-fewest in the NHL this year. Prime real estate will be hard to come by, as the Oilers have tightened up their high-danger chances against as well, finishing 9th in the NHL despite a defensively weak start to the season.

The edge goes to LA on the defensive side, but the Oilers have closed the gap somewhat since acquiring Mattias Ekholm.


Goaltending has been a struggle for both teams at times this season, but that does not appear to be the case anymore.

Jack Campbell and Jonathan Quick were battling it out near the bottom of the league in nearly every goalie stat in the book. Now that Skinner has taken the starting job in Edmonton and Joonas Korpisalo has been brought in to replace Quick, both teams have righted the ship between the pipes.

Skinner is 14-1-1 in his last 16 starts and has a Sv% of .913 on the season. Korpisalo has been equally impressive, with a 7-3-1 record since being acquired by LA and a .921 Sv% over that span. The slight edge goes to Korpisalo, but I would be surprised if either goalie disappoints.

Special Teams

Special teams will be a crucial battleground for two strong powerplay teams in this series. The Oilers finished with the highest powerplay percentage in NHL history at 32.4%.

With the Kings’ 24th-ranked penalty-killing unit, it will be essential for them to stay out of the sin bin. A parade to the penalty box could cause their season to unravel.

Edmonton has struggled on the PK, too, at times, and the Kings boast a strong 25.3% on-the-man advantage this year. Penalties will be dangerous for both squads. The Oilers have, however, turned things around on the PK as of late, with Ekholm and Desharnais providing some size and reach they didn’t previously have.

Edmonton has the advantage on the powerplay and the penalty kill, but we’ll see if the Kings can devise a game plan to slow them down.

Oilers Vs Kings: Conclusion

With Connor McDavid having a historic season, the Kings will no doubt have a difficult time shutting down this offence. Todd McLellan employed the trap against the Oilers in their last two meetings to try and combat them. Still, Edmonton beat LA at their own game, gutting out low-scoring wins 3-1 and 2-0 in those contests. This Oiler team can win any type of game, and that was not always the case last year.

The Oilers are the favourites to win, but LA should put up a good fight at the very least. If history is any indication, expect a physical, nasty, and fun series!