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Kopitar: 'It just sucks' losing to Oilers for 3rd straight year

Andy Devlin / National Hockey League / Getty

Anze Kopitar didn't need many words to summarize how he and his Los Angeles Kings were coping knowing the Edmonton Oilers vanquished them from the Stanley Cup Playoffs once again Wednesday.

"(It's) definitely a disappointing feeling, obviously, for the third year in a row, and yeah, it just sucks right now," the Kings captain said postgame.

Kopitar wasn't interested in criticizing the officiating in the decisive contest or the series as a whole.

"Whether they were penalties or not, the bottom line is we've got to get the job done on the penalty kill and we didn't do it throughout the five games," he said. "It wasn't just (Wednesday night)."

The Oilers went nine-for-20 (45%) on the power play in the series. Edmonton also scored two goals in Game 5 that came seconds (four and three, respectively) after a Kings penalty expired.

Drew Doughty echoed Kopitar's sentiment about falling to the Oilers yet again, calling it "super frustrating." Like the captain, he pointed to the Kings' penalty kill as a sore spot.

"Yes, they have an amazing (power play), amazing players, and (they) threw a lot of different things at us, but a lot of those goals were preventable, in my opinion," the veteran defenseman said. "If we had a better P.K., I think the series would've been - I mean, we would've taken it deeper, for sure."

Doughty also avoided taking shots at the referees.

"When you watch the video, you might see something different, but they're trying to do their best just like we're trying to do our best out there, and I'm not going to put any blame on the refs," he said. "We lost 4-1 in the series, so that had nothing to do with reffing."

Kings head coach Jim Hiller agreed with his players that the reason for their first-round exit this time around wasn't complicated.

"It's a pretty simple write-up on this one," he said. "You saw one team execute and one team not on special teams."

Kopitar and Doughty are under contract through 2025-26 and 2026-27, respectively. But the Kings have several pending unrestricted free agents, including all three of their goaltenders, forward Viktor Arvidsson, and defenseman Matt Roy.

The Oilers will face either the Vancouver Canucks or Nashville Predators in the second round. The Canucks lead that series 3-2, with Game 6 scheduled for Friday night in Tennessee.

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