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Oilers 'far superior' to Kings when they're on top of their game: analyst

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It's a travel day for the Edmonton Oilers — and some of their fans are along for the ride.

Both the National Hockey League team and their supporters, particularly those who plan to attend Friday's Game 3 of the tied playoff series, are hoping for a bounceback performance against the Los Angeles Kings following Wednesday's painful overtime loss.

Edmonton fell behind early in Wednesday's Game 2 but tied it up twice, going on to drop a 5-4 decision on home ice at Rogers Place.

Hockey analyst Tom Gazzola says, however, it's way too early for Oilers fans to be hitting the panic button even though Wednesday's Oilers loss marked the team's fourth straight loss to the Kings in a playoff game that reaches overtime.

“You knew L.A. was going to push back hard and Edmonton still found a way to claw themselves back into the game, so Oilers fans should stay confident ... they shouldn’t lose confidence in this team," Gazzola told CTV News Edmonton.

One reason to stay confident could be the emergence of Dylan Holloway. The Oilers forward scored his first two NHL playoff goals on Wednesday.

Gazzola says when the Oilers are playing well — "sharp and on top of things" — they're a "far superior team" to the Kings.

"L.A. needs to play its best game and can't let up at all and have any mistakes and expect to win," he said

"That's where I look at the Oilers in their maturation process, as opposed to the Kings who, if you look at it, their goaltending still suspect like it was last year. The defence, the third pairing is vulnerable.

"If the Oilers skate hard on the third pair of the L.A. Kings, they're going to create opportunities and eventually get to Cam Talbot so you could make the argument that L.A. has improved when it comes to depth up front — they have a healthy Viktor Arvidsson, a much more mature Quinton Byfield, and they've got Pierre Luc Dubois but Pierre Luc Dubois had a bad season for the L.A. Kings.

"So I look at the Oilers, I say this is a team that has matured and should be better, and if it brings its 'B' game to the table or its 'A' game to the table, the Kings have no hope."

Some hopeful Oilers fans are on their way to southern California for Game 3, including Evan Rutman, who is heading to Disneyland with his family -- and now, potentially a bonus hockey game, too.

He plans to scoop up resale tickets on Friday morning to take his sons to their first-ever playoff game.

“I figure this is like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them and for me, also, so I’m like, 'Let’s just do it,'" he told CTV News Edmonton. 

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