Jonathan Quick tried to make a couple of his 31 saves without his glove during a masterful performance, Carl Grundstrom scored two third-period goals and the Los Angeles Kings rebounded from back-to-back blowout losses to even their first-round playoff series with a 4-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 4 on Sunday night.
After Trevor Moore and Troy Stecher scored in the first period, Quick earned his 10th career playoff shutout while the Kings firmly shut down Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Los Angeles earned its first playoff victory on home ice since the club raised the Stanley Cup for the second time in 2014.
Mike Smith stopped 42 shots for the Oilers, but McDavid, Draisaitl and Evander Kane all struggled for consistent scoring chances after two games of dominance. Edmonton's frustrations and Los Angeles' exuberance led to several stoppages and near-brawls in the final minutes.
The bad feelings were set off when Grundstrom scored his first career playoff goal while sliding headfirst into Smith and the goalpost with 4:54 to play after getting taken down by Darnell Nurse. Grundstrom added an empty-net goal with 1:31 left.
Get Southern California news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC LA newsletters.
Game 5 is Tuesday night in Edmonton, with Game 6 back in Los Angeles on Thursday.
After getting humiliated by a combined 14-2 in the previous two games, the Kings again looked like the playoff-worthy team that won Game 1 in Edmonton. The Kings also improved on faceoffs and on special teams, killing all three Oilers power plays after giving up five power-play goals and a short-handed goal in the first three games.
Edmonton only got rolling late in the second period, but its best chances were repelled by Quick, the idiosyncratic goalie with two Stanley Cup rings and ample postseason poise.
Get today's sports news out of Los Angeles. Here's the latest on the Dodgers, Lakers, Angels, Kings, Galaxy, LAFC, USC, UCLA and more LA teams.
During one sequence, Quick lost his glove and still tried to make a save with his bare left hand. Still gloveless moments later, he stopped a point-blank chance with an instinctive flick of his blocker.
McDavid was active in the third period, yet he also took an ill-advised interference penalty next to the Kings’ goal with 9:40 to play.
The Kings retained their defensive discipline for most of the third period before Grundstrom muscled in his first career playoff goal. Edmonton challenged the ruling on the play, but lost.
The Oilers’ 17 goals in the series’ first three games were the most by any playoff team since San Jose did the same in 2014 against the Kings — who rallied to knock out the Sharks in the first round on the way to raising the Cup again. Los Angeles responded to those setbacks with its best defensive performance of the series in Game 4.
The Kings took their first lead since Game 1 when Moore converted a slick pass from Phillip Danault midway through the first period for his second goal of the series. Moore, a Southern California native, got his only previous playoff experience in 2019 with Toronto.
During 4-on-4 play later in the first, Stecher's shot from above the faceoff circle deflected off Duncan Keith's stick blade and went in for the depth defenseman's first goal for the Kings.
In another measure of Los Angeles' early dominance, its 20 shots in the first period were one shy of the most in franchise playoff history.
Stecher, acquired from Detroit in February, played his first postseason game for LA in place of the scratched Jordan Spence.
Edmonton forward Derek Ryan sat out after getting in an awkward collision late in Game 3. Journeyman Derick Brassard took his lineup spot, making a playoff appearance for his sixth NHL team.