Oilers to play Kings in Round 1 for third straight year

Edmonton Oilers centre Connor McDavid (97) knocks down Los Angeles Kings center Quinton Byfield (55) during the second period of Game 4 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series hockey game Sunday, April 23, 2023, in Los Angeles. (Ashley Landis/AP)

The Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings meeting in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is starting to become an every-year thing.

After the Kings went to overtime with the Chicago Blackhawks and the Vegas Golden Knights‘ lost to the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday, the first-round matchup was made official as Los Angeles finished third in the Pacific Division.

Game 1 is Monday in Edmonton.

Not only is it the third straight year the two teams have faced off in Round 1, but it’s also the third time the Oilers and Kings have finished second and third in the Pacific Division, respectively.

The Kings and Oilers matchup was anything but a sure thing as it all came down to the wee hours of Friday morning with the final two games on the NHL schedule..

With the Golden Knights’ loss to the Ducks, and the Kings up 3-1 on the Blackhawks headed to the third, most were already prepping for a Kings-Oilers series. But after three unanswered third-period goals from the Blackhawks to take a 4-3 lead, suddenly it looked like the Oilers would be taking on the defending Cup champs instead.

The matchup then got flipped for a final time after the Kings levelled the game thanks to a Viktor Arvidsson goal (on the power play and with the goalie pulled) with just over a minute remaining in the third, sending the game to overtime, and clinching the division’s No. 3 spot. The Kings went on to win 5-4 in OT.

Los Angeles will be hoping the result of this year’s clash is different than the previous two seasons, as the Oilers eliminated the Kings in seven games in 2022, then six in 2023.

This season, the Oilers hold a 3-1 record over the Kings.

After falling to the final wild-card spot, the defending Stanley Cup champion Golden Knights booked a round one date with the Dallas Stars — the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed.

The two first-round matchups already set in the West were the Vancouver Canucks vs. the Nashville Predators and the Winnipeg Jets vs. the Colorado Avalanche.

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