Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers are back in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and have their eyes on hockey's biggest prize. In order to get there, though, they need to go through a very familiar opponent. Edmonton is taking on the Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the tournament.

It's a matchup that has favored the Oilers in the past. But their playoff history may not make much of an impact this year. McDavid mentioned on Saturday how each team is familiar with the other at this point. And he knows that will be a major factor in how this series plays out on the ice.

“We’ve never done it, [but] we’re going to find out,” McDavid said Saturday, via “I think just the familiarity, nobody is going to surprise anyone with their game. We know what they want to do, we know what we want to do. It’s just about who’s going to do it better that’s what it comes down to.”

Oilers, Kings playoff history

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) against the Arizona Coyotes at Mullett Arena.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings and Oilers have played each other in the opening round in each of the previous two Stanley Cup Playoffs. And both of those matchups have been rather close. However, the Oilers have claimed both series victories as they went on to have respectable playoff runs.

Connor McDavid and the Oilers defeated the Kings in seven games in 2022. After that, they got through the Calgary Flames in an intense Battle of Alberta to advance to the Western Conference Final. Edmonton then ran into the Colorado Avalanche. Colorado swept the Oilers en route to the 2022 Stanley Cup.

In 2023, the Oilers won again, this time in six games. And they nearly made the Western Conference Final again. However, they fell in six games to the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round. Vegas went on to win the Stanley Cup in 2023 over the Florida Panthers.

The Oilers have confidence in their ability to beat the Kings this season. After all, they have done so in each of the previous two seasons. However, neither team went through the 2023-24 NHL season without change. And that could play a factor in how things turn out in this latest clash.

Both teams are different now

The Oilers entered the 2023-24 season with high expectations. They made it clear that they are aiming for the Stanley Cup. Anything less would be a disappointment. However, they began the season in nightmarish fashion. Their brutal slump at the beginning of the year eventually led to a coaching change.

Under Kris Knoblauch, Edmonton turned things around. Connor McDavid looked out of sorts a bit before the coaching change. However, being reunited with his junior hockey bench boss worked wonders. McDavid rediscovered his form, made impressive history, and became a Hart Trophy candidate.

The Kings, meanwhile, had a rather promising start to the season. Los Angeles, at one point, had a comfortable playoff position. They ended up going through a slump of their own, though. And they made a coaching change right before the NHL All-Star Game.

Interim head coach Jim Hiller helped the Kings stabilize. They had some ups and downs over the finals stretch of the regular season. But they were able to avoid the wild card picture. Los Angeles claimed third place in the Pacific Division, clinching this rematch with the Oilers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The players are familiar with each other, but the new head coaches could throw a curveball into the mix. Still, Connor McDavid and the Oilers expect to go on a deep run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Kings want to avoid another playoff loss to the same team. All in all, this is a much-watch series.