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NHL - US Sports: Oilers grow from LA challenge

Coach Jay Woodcroft believes the Edmonton Oilers will learn from the experience of being pushed all the way to seven games in the Western Conference First Round by the Los Angeles Kings.

The Oilers, 13/1 to win the Stanley Cup in 2021/22, shut-out the Kings to win an all-important Game 7 on Saturday and will face Canadian rivals Calgary Flames in Round Two.

45-year-old Woodcroft took over the Oilers coaching job after Dave Tippett was fired on 10th February leading them to a 26-9-3 record to claim second place in the Pacific Division (49-27-6).

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McDavid leads from the front

Only the Presidents' Trophy winning Florida Panthers (.757) tallied a better winning percentage than Edmonton's .724 from when Woodcroft was promoted from the Oilers' AHL farm-team.

Superstar forward Connor McDavid led the NHL's First Round for points (14) scoring four goals, 10 assists to help the Oilers past the Kings who finished five points behind them in the Pacific Division (44-27-11).

McDavid's tally is the third-most in a First Round in NHL history behind Mario Lemieux (17, 1992) and Wayne Gretzky (15, 1987).

The series victory for Edmonton was their first since 2017.

Woodcroft said to the media: "I think for our team that series pushed us in a certain way that made us grow. We learned a lot about ourselves over these last two weeks and the price that needs to be paid to have success at this time of year. I'm proud of our group and am looking forward to moving on to Round 2."

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