Unheralded players rose to the occasion, and Jonathan Quick turned back the clock in Game 4 in Los Angeles as the Kings scored a 4-0 victory to even their series with the Edmonton Oilers.
Trevor Moore notched his second of the series to open the scoring in the first period, while defenseman Troy Stecher, playing in his first game of the playoffs, gave the Kings a 2-0 lead into intermission. Carl Grundstrom added a pair of late third-period goals, while Quick made 31 saves for his 10th career playoff shutout.
Moore and Grundstrom, both acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs in separate trades for Jack Campbell and Jake Muzzin, recorded multi-point games, as did Stecher. Dustin Brown, Phil Danault, Alex Iafallo, and Blake Lizotte collected assists for the Kings. Oilers goaltender Mike Smith stopped 42 of 45 shots in a losing effort.
The Quick of Old Helped Even Things Up
Quick, meanwhile, looked more like the goaltender who played in Game 1 as opposed to Games 2 and 3. The 36-year-old netminder was integral to the Kings success in Game 1 with 36 saves on 39 shots. He allowed 10 goals on 53 shots in the next two games but was perfect in Game 4. He made a pair of highlight-reel saves late in the second period on Kailer Yamamoto and Evander Kane, despite losing his glove.
Grundstrom cemented the victory for the Kings with a goal at 4:54 of the third period. The 24-year-old Swede scored his first career playoff goal on the rush after fighting off the checking of Darnell Nurse, who pushed him into Smith. The puck – and Smith – was pushed into the net, but the goal was upheld after review.
The Kings limited the Oilers scoring chances with strong positional play and intensity in the defensive zone. Connor McDavid and Leon Draistail recorded only four shots combined in the game. They had 18 combined in the first three games.
An argument can be made that both teams should feel lucky to be tied through the first four games of the series. The Oilers have been outplayed in both losses and were even outshot 46-37 in their 8-2 Game 3 victory. Quick, meanwhile, has either been great or below average for the Kings. Anze Kopitar and Adrian Kempe, the Kings, leading scorers during the regular season, only have one goal between them through four games.
Oilers Get Back on Track
This series has been unpredictable, but the Oilers have to be favorites heading into Game 5. They have home-ice advantage and the two best players in the series, plus an X-factor in Evander Kane, who has five goals and brings a level of intensity the Oilers have been missing in prior seasons.
Beyond that, the Oilers only lost back-to-back games twice since March 9 and have only lost three games at home, including Game 1, since March 5. The Kings, meanwhile, have been on the opposite end of more than one beat down on the road in the last month with a 9-3 loss at Colorado and a 6-3 loss at Minnesota. The Oilers will take care of business in Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead.