Everyone expects there to be physicality and animosity between the Los Angeles Kings and the Edmonton Oilers as these two teams face each other again in a playoff matchup. The Kings and Oilers went to seven games last season and they’ll meet each other in the first round this year, with the Oilers the favorites and having entered the post-season on a 14-0-1 streak. But, this may not be a typical first-round game between the offensively-explosive Oilers versus a stingy and disciplined Kings. In fact, there might be some early fireworks when it comes to the fisticuffs.
Defenseman Drew Doughty said during a media avail on Monday that the Kings haven’t forgotten what happened to Mikey Anderson when these two teams met up recently. Connor McDavid hit Anderson into the boards, earning a two-minute boarding penalty and knocking him out for the rest of the season. Anderson will be back for the Kings, but the team hasn’t forgotten, nor forgiven McDavid for the hit.
“If we get a chance to smack him we’re gonna try to do that”, said Doughty when he talked about the Kings holding onto some bitterness about the play. He noted that the Kings don’t play to take a bunch of dumb penalties to get even — which would be a massive mistake considering the Oilers’ record-breaking power play success — but they are going to be looking to take a run at McDavid whenever possible.
Of course, any runs at McDavid will come with a response from the Oilers.
You don’t run the best player in the world and not expect there to be consequences. And, with the Oilers now a much bigger team than they were in last season’s playoffs — adding the likes of Klim Kostin, Vincent Desharnais, Nick Bjugstad, Mattias Ekholm — and the same tough faces from last season (Darnell Nurse and Evander Kane) will have something to say. Remember too, the Oilers know exactly who the Kings are defending here.
This is the same Mikey Anderson who slew-footed Leon Draisaitl during last season’s series. Draisaitl continued in the playoffs, but he wasn’t anywhere close to 100%. Trying to defend the honor of a player the Oilers already don’t like and will probably remember this time around won’t sit well. And, if they’re coming after their captain in order to do so, Game 1 could get quite nasty.
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