Kevin Fiala, Kings ride power surge past Oilers

LOS ANGELES — The Kings have twice delivered a clear message to the Edmonton Oilers this season: last year is over.

They downed Edmonton, 6-3, on Monday night at Arena, the Kings’ second victory in as many meetings since the Oilers eliminated them in seven games in a first-round playoff series last spring.

Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl might not have beckoned any comparisons to legends past, but Kings winger Kevin Fiala channeled his inner Guy Lafleur on Monday after turning in a hat trick in Las Vegas on Saturday.  While he might not catch McDavid’s seven four-point performances to date, it was Fiala’s second such effort of the season.

Fiala’s two goals, two assists and limitless swagger overwhelmed the Oilers in a contest encumbered with 15 minor penalties, four of which led to power-play goals for the Kings. Winger Adrian Kempe scored twice and added an assist as the Kings improved to 9-2-1 since Dec. 15. Defenseman Drew Doughty and winger Viktor Arvidsson also had multipoint performances. Pheonix Copley’s train kept rolling with his 11th win behind 28 saves.

Center Phillip Danault prevailed in his third fight of the season, after engaging in just two bouts in his entire career before this campaign. There were three fights in the game and the Kings’ penalty kill was tough, too, going 6 for 6.

Wingers Kailer Yamamoto and Ryan McLeod scored for Edmonton, as did the NHL’s leading goal and point producer McDavid. Stuart Skinner and former Kings goalie Jack Campbell combined to make 32 stops.

Arvidsson put a bow on the evening with a late empty-net goal.

The Kings had cushioned their lead when a stretch pass and a chip play sent Iafallo in on Campbell for an insurance goal with 12:16 to play. It came in handy when McDavid picked Fiala’s pocket and scored a breakaway goal 1:42 later.

With 3:24 to play in the second period, Edmonton got a goal back when an offensive-zone faceoff win led to a point-blank backhand goal for McLeod.

Around the seven-minute mark of the second period, Fiala continued his eruption on a shift where he attempted a lacrosse-style goal, set up two sterling chances for Gabe Vilardi and drew a penalty during a single shift. Though the Kings failed to score, they converted on their next opportunity, thanks once again to Fiala.

He hit Kempe for a one-timer from the right circle that Campbell appeared to snare with his glove. The puck, however, had completely crossed the goalline and upon video review the Kings were awarded a goal. It was Kempe’s second goal and Fiala’s fourth point of the night, with more than 28 minutes still remaining in the game.

The middle frame continued the parade to both penalty boxes and the Kings cashed in for the third time when Fiala zipped a stretch pass to Kempe, who hit the blue line with speed and darted in for a breakaway goal 3:51 into the period. That goal chased Skinner from the game, opening the door for Campbell.

The Kings scored twice a man up and killed two penalties in the opening 20 minutes, but their PK still effectively yielded an Edmonton goal just as Danault’s penalty expired. Defenseman Darnell Nurse’s shot hit Rasmus Kupari’s stick and then the fluttering puck was tipped just firmly enough to squirt through Copley with 2:58 left in the frame.

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Arvidsson lined the Oilers up and Fiala knocked them down. Arvidsson drew a pair of penalties in the first period and Fiala potted a power-play goal on each of the ensuing man-advantage opportunities. The Kings’ goals came just 1:50 apart, between the 9:21 and 11:11 marks.

Fiala’s second goal was a sharp-angle snipe from in tight that he managed to lift into the narrowest of apertures above Skinner’s left shoulder with even greater precision than his first goal.

He picked the same spot for his one-timer from the right faceoff dot less than two minutes earlier. The Kings sustained pressure and moved the puck with aplomb on the play. Center Anze Kopitar’s secondary assist on the goal was his 1,100th career point and 600th at Arena. Only four other active players have reached the 1,100-point plateau, and that quintet has combined to lift the Stanley Cup a dozen times.

More to come on this story.

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