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Kempe scores twice, L.A. Kings capitalize on McDavid game misconduct

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EDMONTON — Sticking to the game plan was key, but having Connor McDavid exit the contest on a game misconduct didn’t hurt the Los Angeles Kings either.

Adrian Kempe scored a pair of goals and Los Angeles snapped a two-game losing skid by defeating the Edmonton Oilers 5-1 on Sunday. It was the Kings' second win in their last nine outings.

Rasmus Kupari, Drew Doughty and Trevor Moore also scored for the Kings (10-9-4), which scored three power-play goals in a span of 2:19 late in the third period after McDavid took a boarding major for hitting Kempe from behind.

“We just stuck to our game plan, we didn’t sit back, kept pushing forward,” Doughty said. “Our game plan is never to take a lot of high risks, just to stay calm, get pucks in and get pucks out. We just stuck to our game play we were told to play from the get-go, we didn’t want to change anything in the third, we didn’t want to sit back.”

Kings coach Todd McLellan said hard work is the key to taking down Edmonton.

“I don’t think you beat the Edmonton Oilers unless you check,” he said. “You open it up and play a freewheeling game, you’re not going to win. Checking and patience led to opportunities for us and we took advantage of them.”

Jonathan Quick made 21 saves in the win.

Darnell Nurse scored the lone goal for the Oilers (16-7-0), which lost two straight for the first time this season.

“This has been coming for a while here, been coming for a while,” said Oilers head coach Dave Tippett. “We’ve been masking it with some special teams stuff, but we haven’t had enough guys play well for a while. It was a 2-1 score but weren’t good enough in it, and we gave up some power-play goals at the end.

“We’ve got too many guys who aren’t contributing enough to help us here."

Mikko Koskinen stopped 35-of-40 shots in defeat.

The Oilers got off to another bad start as the Kings scored just two minutes into the contest when Moore made a nice touch pass to Kupari at the side of the net for an easy tap-in past Koskinen.

The Kings made it 2-0 less than two minutes into the middle frame as Kempe scored his ninth on a wrist shot that Koskinen could have saved.

Edmonton got back into the game midway through the second period with a shorthanded goal, as Nurse was able to score up high from a sharp angle past Quick for his first goal of the season.

Nurse returned to action after missing six games for breaking a finger blocking a shot.

The Oilers made any chances of a late comeback very difficult on themselves as McDavid took his five-minute major with 6:33 remaining in the third period.

Los Angeles got a power-play goal just over a minute late as Kempe got revenge by scoring his second of the game on a rebound from the doorstep at 14:38.

The Kings added a second goal on the man advantage as Doughty was able to rifle a shot into a wide-open net at 16:03.

They got a third goal on the major penalty to McDavid, as Moore was able to find some space in front to beat Koskinen at 16:57.

The Kings are right back at it on Monday as they head to Vancouver to face the Canucks, while the Oilers play the second game of a six-game homestand on Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild.

NOTES: Out with injuries for the Oilers were Mike Smith (lower body), Devin Shore (lower body), Slater Koekkoek (lower body), and Duncan Keith (upper body), while Cody Ceci remained out under COVID-19 protocol. Missing from the Kings lineup due to COVID were Andreas Athanasiou and Blake Lizotte… Kings forward Brendan Lemieux served the third of a five-game suspension for biting Ottawa Senators forward Brady Tkachuk.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2021.

Shane Jones, The Canadian Press