The Edmonton Oilers’ theme heading into the fourth game of their playoff series with the Los Angeles Kings was to keep hammering at the rock until it split.
The Oilers finally found the five-on-five offence to go with their potent power play Sunday and edged the Kings 5-4 in overtime.
The best-of-seven, first-round series returns to Edmonton on Tuesday tied at two wins apiece.
“We’re bunkered in for a long series,” Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft said.
Edmonton fought back from a three-goal deficit after the opening period.
Five goals, and three even-strength, was a series high for the Oilers, who led the regular season in goal production.
“We have a belief if you do things harder and longer than the opposition, eventually you get rewarded,” Woodcroft said.
Zach Hyman had been among the snake-bitten Oilers around the Kings’ net. His first goal of this post-season was Sunday’s OT winner.
“Playoff hockey, you’ve got a short period of time to make an impact or else you’re not going to be playing for long, right?” Hyman said.
“You don’t score every game in hockey. You’ve just got to keep shooting, keep taking it to the net, keep trying to get the puck back.
“They’re a good, defensive team. They play tight, they play hard. We had a lot of chances. Got to start burying them.”
Hyman beat Kings goalie Joonas Korpisalo between the pads at 10:39 of extra time in the third overtime game of the series.
“It’s my first overtime playoff winner, so probably the most important goal of my career to date,” Hyman said.
The Kings scored OT power-play goals take the first and third games of the series.
Oilers forward Derek Ryan had described teammate Leon Draisaitl as “an absolute beast” earlier Sunday.
Draisaitl continued his monster pace with two goals and an assist playing 28 minutes, nine seconds.
The German centre took over the NHL’s playoff points lead at five goals and four assists in just four games.
Evan Bouchard contributed a goal and two assists and Evander Kane scored an equalizing goal late in the third period for his second of the series.
Two of Edmonton captain Connor McDavid’s three assists were his first even-strength points of the series.
Starter Stuart Skinner was pulled after the opening period when the Kings scored three unanswered goals on 11 shots.
Jack Campbell, a King for four seasons from 2016 to 2020, drew in to turn away 27 of 28 shots in 50 1/2 minutes of relief for the win.
“That’s not assigning any blame on Stuart for the way the first period went, but I felt that our team needed a little bit of a change in momentum,” Woodcroft said.
“The only debate I had was when I was going to do it, which was were we going to try and get to the end of the period or were we going to do it after that third goal. We decided to wait until we could get in the (dressing) room.”
Edmonton signed the 31-year-old Campbell last summer as this season’s presumptive starter. He was supplanted by Skinner in the fall.
“Not an easy situation. Hasn’t been an easy year for him,” Draisaitl said. “The way he showed up tonight, was really, really great and we’re very fortunate to have him.”
Gabriel Vilardi, Victor Arvidsson, Anze Kopitar and Matt Roy scored for the Kings.
Kevin Fiala had two assists in his first game since April 1 and Philip Danault also contributed a pair of assists. Korpisalo made 37 saves in the loss.
Fiala, who was No. 2 in regular-season points for the Kings behind Kopitar, had missed eight straight games with a lower-body injury.
“He gave us an emotional lift,” Kings head coach Todd McLellan said. “You could feel it in the locker room. There was some excitement. He gave us a third line that was really dangerous offensively.”
After a nightmare opening period to trail by three goals, the Oilers revived in the second with three unanswered goals of their own.
Bouchard’s power-play goal at 4:28 cued the comeback with Draisaitl scoring at 9:41. He scored a power-play goal with 10 seconds remaining in the period to draw the Oilers even.
Los Angeles regained the lead on Roy’s goal at 4:28, but Kane tied it up again at 16:58 of the third.
“We’re all tied up. Three overtime games. I think it shows both groups how close it can be and probably will be, but I can’t tell you it’s going to go seven (games),” McLellan said. “Obviously both teams don’t want it to go seven.”
Los Angeles was minus forward Blake Lizotte (lower body) for a second straight game. Mattias Janmark remained out of Edmonton’s lineup after he blocked a shot with his foot in Game 1.
The Oilers played 11 forwards and seven defencemen for a third playoff game.
NOTES: Edmonton’s power play is 6-for-11 and the Kings 5-for-17 in the series … Kopitar’s goal was his sixth point in four playoff games (two goals, four assists) … Kopitar and Doughty tied Dave Taylor for third in all-time career playoff home games for the Kings (43).