Column: Trevor Moore goes California clutch on the Oilers in Kings’ Game 3 overtime win

Kings players celebrate after Trevor Moore scores in overtime to cap a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers.
Kings players celebrate after Trevor Moore scores in overtime to cap a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 3 of the first-round series Friday at Arena.
(Juan Ocampo / NHLI via Getty Images)

It has become something of an inside joke among Kings fans that whenever Trevor Moore’s name is mentioned it must be preceded by the description “Thousand Oaks native.”

They know he’s a local kid who grew up a Kings fan and, improbably enough, got a chance to play for the team he cheered for long ago. But now the hockey world knows he’s not just a curiosity as a rare Californian in the NHL: he’s a clutch performer who on Friday helped the underdog Kings rally to beat the mighty Edmonton Oilers, a triumph fueled by determination, sheer will, and the outstanding goaltending of Joonas Korpisalo.

With the Kings on the power play after Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was sent to the penalty box for slashing 1 minute and 44 seconds into sudden-death play, Moore took a pass from Gabe Vilardi and slipped the puck past Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner at 3:24 to give the Kings a 3-2 victory and set off cheers and screams of joy at Arena.

The NHL Situation Room initiated a challenge to determine whether Vilardi had hit the puck with his stick “above the normal height of the shoulders” 17 seconds before Moore scored. If Vilardi had committed that infraction, play should have been stopped and the goal would have had to be waved off.

But according to the league’s Hockey Operations department, “There was no conclusive evidence to determine that the puck contacted the stick of Gabriel Vilardi” above normal shoulder height. “Therefore, the original call stands. The decision was made in accordance with Rule 80.1,” the league said via email. That meant the Kings will take a 2-1 series lead into Game 4.


“We didn’t know what the review was. Whatever,” Moore said during a postgame TV interview.

Korpisalo said he had no clue what was being reviewed. “So I went back to my net and just tried to get back into it in case they overturned the goal,” he said. “We played hard, we had a lot of hits, we played hard in front of both nets. Guys played awesome today.”

Kings forward Trevor Moore scores on Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner.
Kings forward Trevor Moore (12) scores on Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner in overtime Friday.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The only time he seemed unprepared was when he was asked if he learned anything from this game that he might use in the future. “I don’t know,” he said. “I’m just a goalie.”

Moore, who went undrafted out of college and came to the Kings in 2020 in a trade with Toronto, also thanked the crowd for creating a loud, joyful atmosphere that gave the Kings energy throughout the game. “That was unbelievable,” he said. “That was so fun. Thank you guys so much.”

According to the NHL, Moore became the first California-born player to score a Stanley Cup playoff overtime winner for a California-based team. He is the fourth California-born player to score an overtime playoff goal, joining Brooks Orpik (2013 and 2019), Auston Matthews (2020), and Jason Zucker (2013).

Moore’s teammates were a bit nervous while the review process took place. “It’s a long review and you can’t really see it. There’s little iPads on the bench,” Alex Iafallo said. “We were just trying to stay ready, I guess. We were just hoping it’s going in.”


Adrian Kempe also was anxious. “Obviously, there’s a lot of things going on in your head, especially after you’ve cheered so hard. You feel like you’ve got to get your legs going again because you’re not sure if it was a goal or not,” he said. “We weren’t sure on that, if it was a goal. Obviously we didn’t know what they were looking at right away, so it took a while, but yeah, real happy that was a goal.”

Kings players celebrate after Trevor Moore's winning goal in overtime against the Edmonton Oilers.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Korpisalo made 38 saves for the Kings, who also won the series opener in overtime on a power-play goal, by Iafallo. “It was a huge team effort off the start,” Iafallo said. “What we were talking about, battling hard in the corners, defensively, offensively, just trying to win pucks. Special teams is huge and to get a goal like that in overtime that’s what we were working for.”

The Kings had vowed to have a better start than they did in the first two games, and they lived up to their words. Although they didn’t capitalize on the two power plays they gained in the first period, they emerged with a 1-0 lead and a 7-5 edge in shots.

Tenacity has allowed the Kings to neutralize the Oilers’ advantages in scoring depth, size, and raw skill, and being tenacious in a puck battle deep in the offensive zone enabled them to score the first goal for the first time in the series. With the puck seemingly pinned along the boards deep in Edmonton’s zone, Anze Kopitar managed to work it free and slid the puck around the boards to Matt Roy at the right point.

The Kings cannot continue to expect to sleepwalk in the first period and come back later against the Oilers who have edges in scoring, skill and size.

April 20, 2023

Roy launched a hard shot toward the net, where Iafallo, who has had an outstanding series, tipped it but couldn’t get it to go in. When it dropped within easy reach, he prodded it home with 32.5 seconds remaining in the period.


The Kings weren’t going to hold Connor McDavid without a goal forever, though they’ve defended him about as well as any team could hope. With Kings defenseman Alex Edler in the penalty box, McDavid scored his first goal of the series on a wrist shot from the left circle that got past Korpisalo’s glove and into the upper-right corner of the net at 7:42 of the second period.

Once unleashed, McDavid quickly found the net again, giving the Oilers a 2-1 lead at 9:22 with a high shot to Korpisalo’s stick side while Kings forward Zack MacEwen was serving a high-sticking penalty. There was nothing Korpisalo could have done to stop that shot by the NHL’s regular-season scoring champion.

But a lapse in discipline by Leon Draisaitl cost the Oilers. He was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for apparently chopping at Drew Doughty’s ankle after the Oilers had scored, and Draisaitl was in the box when Kempe took a perfectly-timed stretch pass from Arvidsson and ripped a shot past Skinner from the left circle at 9:40.

The Kings had an excellent chance to take the lead when Arvidsson and Phillip Danault broke in alone on Skinner in the second period but they made one pass too many.

The teams went back and forth in the third without forgetting the physical end of things, ratcheting up the tension as the game headed toward overtime.

Thousand Oaks Native Trevor Moore ended the tension with his goal and reminded everyone that sometimes the most unlikely dreams come true.