Getting into a special teams battle against the Edmonton Oilers rarely works out, but the Los Angeles Kings were able to shut down the league's best power play and pot four of their own on the man advantage to win 6-3.
The game finished with 70 combined penalty minutes and 13 combined power play opportunities, with both teams failing to stay disciplined.
"We, obviously, wanted to win the special teams battle and when you do against that team you give yourself a much better chance at success," said Todd McLellan. "If you would have told me at the beginning of the night it would have been four nothing in our favor, I'm not sure I would have agreed with you considering we had 12 minutes of penalty kill."
After a sloppy start that saw too many defensive zone turnovers and an inability to exit the zone with possession, the Kings were given a big opportunity off a Tyson Barrie hooking penalty. A minute after the penalty was taken Kevin Fiala buried his first goal of the night, putting a one-timer past Stuart Skinner after some fantastic puck movement by the Kings' power play.
Less than a minute later, the Kings were handed another power play opportunity, this time off a Zach Hyman trip. And once again, Fiala was the benefactor. After picking the puck up in the corner, Fiala drove the net and roofed the puck from a tight angle on Skinner.
Kailer Yamamoto would score with three minutes left in the period to bring the Oilers within one heading into the intermission.
The Kings were given a gift in the second period. With Edmonton receiving a questionable too many men on the ice penalty. On the ensuing power play, Adrian Kempe snuck past the Oiler's defense and buried on the breakaway. A goal that would see Skinner pulled and Jack Campbell come into the game.
Just past the halfway mark, Campbell made what looked like a spectacular save on a Kempe one-timer. However, after a video review it was determined that Campbell's glove was in the net and the Kings were awarded a goal.
Ryan McLeod hit back for the Oilers with under five minutes to play, giving the Oilers life heading into the third period.
In what was a hard-fought, scrappy period, the Kings opened the scoring with an Alex Iafallo breakaway goal to extend their lead back to three. Connor McDavid then scored a magnificent goal to cut the deficit back down to two.
Despite a late push from the Oilers, the Kings were able to see the game out, as Viktor Arvidsson scored on the empty net with 1:42 remaining.
This game featured three fights, as the teams carried over their rivalry from last season's playoffs. Phil Danault and Jesse Puljujarvi dropped the gloves after Puljujarvi threw a big hit on Arvidsson in the second period. Then, in the third, Sean Durzi and Zach Hyman fought in response to a big hit from Hyman on Quinton Byfield earlier in the game.
To finish off the night Brendan Lemieux got in on the action, tussling with Klim Kostin right after the Arvidsson goal.
The Kings going 6-6 on the penalty kill was a major factor in their win. And to achieve this they deployed a more aggressive penalty kill than they have all season. Applying more pressure on the puck carrier than normal.
"Every team does certain things, there are patterns to their game," said McLellan about the aggressive nature of the penalty kill. "We prepared for certain patterns and sometimes it worked into our hands, there were other times when we were beaten and the goaltender had to make saves."
This was another impressive Kings' performance against the duo of McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. After keeping them scoreless in their first meeting, they limited the pair to just one goal Monday.
"It's a whole unit job, all five of us on the ice and the goalie too," said Drew Doughty on the team's success against Edmonton's duo. "Through the neutral zone, trying to slow them down as much as we can. And then, in the (defensive) zone I'm basically just following them around if I can when I'm on the ice. It's unfortunate that he got that goal, I wish I got my stick on it, but he's a good player he's going to get his chances. I think we did as good of a job as we could do."
The Kings' next game is Wednesday against the San Jose Sharks.