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The Sports Report: Have the Kings wrested momentum from the Oilers?

Alex Iafallo of the Kings battles for the puck with Darnell Nurse in the third period in Game 4.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
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Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Kevin Baxter: The Kings flew back to Edmonton on Monday afternoon in the same position they were in when they left the city last week: dead even in their best-of-seven playoff with the Oilers.

But just about everything else about the first-round series has changed. With Sunday’s feisty 4-0 win in Game 4 at Crypto.com Arena, the Kings not only matched the Oilers with two wins, they also wrested back control in a series they were on the verge of getting blown out of.

What they didn’t do, coach Todd McLellan said, was change the momentum. At this time of year, he said, that can flip with every shot, every check and every save, leaving the teams to start from scratch again in Game 5 on Tuesday.

“No momentum,” McLellan said. “It starts again every night. If momentum carried over, we’d have been drilled [Sunday].”

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Indeed. The Oilers scored 14 times to win by six goals in both the second and third games of the series, handing the Kings their most lopsided playoff losses in 32 years. Defensemen Mikey Anderson said the players took that personally.

“You look at the series now, it’s back to all square,” he said. “So we try and forget about the two games we lost and turn our attention to the next one.”

But the series can’t end with the next one; Sunday’s win assured the Kings of at least one more home game Thursday. What that game will mean, McLellan said, will be determined by what his young team has learned thus far in the series.

“Our team still has to improve. The big question I’m going to ask our guys is have we learned our lesson?” he said. “We win Game 1 and we do nothing in Games 2 or 3 that even looks remotely close.

“Have we learned anything throughout the series? We’ll find out.”

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NHL PLAYOFFS

Schedule and results
All times Pacific
First round
Western Conference

No. 2 Edmonton vs. No. 3 Kings
Kings 4, Edmonton 3
Edmonton 6, Kings 0
Edmonton 8, Kings 2
Kings 4, Edmonton 0
Tonight at Edmonton, 7 p.m., ESPN2
Thursday at Kings, 7 p.m., TBS
*Saturday at Edmonton, TBD

No. 1 Colorado vs. WC#2 Nashville
Colorado 7, Nashville 2
Colorado 2, Nashville 1 (OT)
Colorado 7, Nashville 3
Colorado 5, Nashville 3

No. 2 Minnesota vs. No. 3 St. Louis
St. Louis 4, Minnesota 0
Minnesota 6, St. Louis 2
Minnesota 5, St. Louis 1
St. Louis 5, Minnesota 2
Tonight at Minnesota, 6:30 p.m., ESPN
Thursday at St. Louis, 6:30 p.m., TNT
*Saturday at Minnesota, TBD

No. 1 Calgary vs. WC#1 Dallas
Calgary 1, Dallas 0
Dallas 2, Calgary 0
Dallas 4, Calgary 2
Calgary 4, Dallas 1
Wednesday at Calgary, TBD
Friday at Dallas, TBD
*Sunday at Calgary, TBD

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Florida vs. WC#2 Washington
Washington 4, Florida 2
Florida 5, Washington 1
Washington 6, Florida 1
Florida 3, Washington 2 (OT)
Wednesday at Florida, 4:30 p.m., ESPN2
Friday at Washington, TBD
*Sunday at Florida, TBD

No. 2 Toronto vs. No. 3 Tampa Bay
Toronto 5, Tampa Bay 0
Tampa Bay 5, Toronto 3
Toronto 5, Tampa Bay 2
Tampa Bay 7, Toronto 3
Today at Toronto, 4:30 p.m., ESPN2
Thursday at Tampa Bay, 4:30 p.m., TBS
*Saturday at Toronto, TBD

No. 1 Carolina at WC#1 Boston
Carolina 5, Boston 1
Carolina 5, Boston 2
Boston 4, Carolina 2
Boston 5, Carolina 2
Today at Carolina, 4 p.m., ESPN
Thursday at Boston, 4 p.m., TNT
*Saturday at Carolina, TBD

No. 2 New York Rangers vs. No. 3 Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh 4, New York 3 (3 OT)
New York 5, Pittsburgh 2
Pittsburgh 7, New York 4
Pittsburgh 7, New York 2
Wednesday at New York, 4 p.m., ESPN
*Friday at Pittsburgh, TBD
*Sunday at New York, TBD

*-if necessary

DODGERS

From Jack Harris: Last week, Dave Roberts didn’t give Julio Urías the chance to pitch in the seventh.

Facing a similar situation on Monday night, the Dodgers manager made a different decision.

With his team trailing the Pittsburgh Pirates by one in the bottom of the seventh, Roberts sent Urías out to the mound to face No. 9 hitter Michael Perez.

One misplaced fastball later, it immediately backfired, with Perez hitting a solo home run that helped the Pirates pull away in a 5-1 defeat of the Dodgers at PNC Park.

There were plenty of causes for the Dodgers’ loss Monday, which ended the team’s six-game winning streak.

Their bullpen gave up three runs in two innings. Their lineup suffered one of its quietest nights all year, matching its season-low run total and getting just four hits. And they were robbed of a couple of potential extra-base hits by diving catches from Pirates outfielders.

ANGELS

From Mike DiGiovanna: Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash might have been wise to take a page out of Joe Maddon’s playbook and walk Shohei Ohtani intentionally with the bases loaded in the seventh inning Monday night, just like the Angels manager did with Texas Rangers slugger Corey Seager on April 16.

Instead, Cash could only watch helplessly as Ohtani crushed a grand slam to left-center field to cap five-run rally that propelled the Angels toward an 11-3 victory over the Rays before 19,537 in Angel Stadium.

Ohtani’s 413-foot shot on a 3-and-1 cut-fastball from reliever Calvin Faucher was the two-way star’s first grand slam—in Japan and the major leagues. He also hit a solo shot to left-center in the sixth inning, giving him eight multi-homer games in his big-league career and six homers on the season.

The Rays had scored two runs in the top of the seventh to pull to within 6-3 of the Angels, but the Angels countered with a quick-strike rally in the bottom of the seventh.

Chad Wallach, the Yorba Linda native who was making his first-ever start for the Angels, led off with a single to right, No. 9 batter Andrew Velazquez walked, and Brandon Marsh reached on a bad-hop infield single.

Trout walked with the bases loaded to force in a run, and Ohtani sent his 109.8-mph drive over the wall in left-center to break open the game, helping the American League West-leading Angels (20-11) move nine games over .500 for the first time since June 9, 2018.

UCLA GYMNASTICS

From Thuc Nhi Nguyen: As UCLA fell from the top of the Pac-12’s gymnastics ranks in recent years, California moved in to fill the void. While the Bruins failed to advance to the NCAA championship, the Golden Bears put together their best season in school history in 2021 and won their first Pac-12 title, sharing the regular season crown in 2022.

In need of a fresh start, the Bruins turned to their in-state rivals for their next leader.

UCLA hired California assistant coach Janelle McDonald to take over its gymnastics program on Monday, hoping a new voice can help one of the school’s most popular teams regain its championship luster.

“Janelle has been exemplary at connecting with and developing young people at every level of her coaching career,” athletic director Martin Jarmond said in a statement. “Her enthusiasm and energy is contagious. She understands and respects the Bruin legacy and the commitment to excellence this program deserves as one of the best in the country.”

The previous coaching staff, led by Chris Waller, lasted only three seasons after Waller abruptly resigned at the end of the 2022 season.

NBA PLAYOFFS

Schedule and results
All times Pacific
Conference semifinals
Western Conference

No. 1 Phoenix Suns vs. No. 4 Dallas Mavericks
Phoenix 121, Dallas 114
Phoenix 129, Dallas 109
Dallas 103, Phoenix 94
Dallas 111, Phoenix 101
Tonight at Phoenix, 7 p.m., TNT
Thursday, 6:30 p.m., ESPN
*Sunday, May 15, TBD

No. 2 Memphis Grizzlies vs. No. 3 Golden State Warriors
Golden State 117, Memphis 116
Memphis 106, Golden State 101
Golden State 142, Memphis 112
Golden State 101, Memphis 98
Wednesday at Memphis, 6:30 p.m., TNT
*Friday at Golden State, TBD, ESPN
*Monday at Memphis, TBD, TNT

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Miami Heat vs. No. 4 Philadelphia 76ers
Miami 106, Philadelphia 92
Miami 119, Philadelphia 103
Philadelphia 99, Miami 79
Philadelphia 116, Miami 108
Today at Miami, 4:30 p.m., TNT
Thursday at Philadelphia, 4 p.m., ESPN
*Sunday at Miami, TBD

No. 2 Boston Celtics vs. No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee 101, Boston 89
Boston 109, Milwaukee 86
Milwaukee 103, Boston 101
Boston 116, Milwaukee 108
Wednesday at Boston, 4 p.m., TNT
Friday at Milwaukee, TBD, ESPN
*Sunday at Boston, TBD

*-if necessary

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1913 — Donerail, ridden by Roscoe Goose, comes from fifth place in the stretch to upset Ten Point by one-half length and win the Kentucky Derby, paying a record $184.90.

1919 — Sir Barton, ridden by Johnny Loftus, leads the whole way to win the Kentucky Derby by five lengths over Billy Kelly. Sir Barton, the first to capture the Triple Crown, is one of three maidens to win the Derby.

1941 — Whirlaway, ridden by Eddie Arcaro, wins the Preakness Stakes by 5½ lengths over King Cole.

1969 — The plans for the NFL-AFL merger are completed. The NFL will consist of two conferences of 13 teams, the AFC and NFC. The NFL will move three franchises, Baltimore, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, to the AFC.

1970 — Bobby Orr’s goal gives Boston its first Stanley Cup in 29 years. The Bruins beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3 for a four-game sweep.

1973 — The New York Knicks win the NBA title in five games with a 102-93 victory over the Lakers.

1997 — Ato Boldon speeds to a mark of 9.89 seconds in the 100 meters at the Modesto Relays, becoming the sixth man in history to go faster than 9.90 seconds.

2001 — The XFL folds after one season. The football league, founded by the World Wrestling Federation and jointly owned by NBC, was a TV ratings disappointment.

2002 — Boston and Detroit play the lowest-scoring game in the NBA playoffs since the shot clock was introduced in the 1954-55 season. The Celtics edge the Pistons 66-64; the 130-point total is far below the previous low of 142 registered three times.

2005 — Miami’s Dwyane Wade becomes the fifth player in NBA history with at least 30 points, 15 assists and five rebounds in a playoff game, joining Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Walt Frazier and Oscar Robertson. Wade’s 31 points, 15 assists and seven rebounds lead the Heat to a 108-102 victory over Washington.

2006 — Cam Ward makes 28 saves in Carolina’s 3-2 win over New Jersey to become the second NHL goalie to win his first seven postseason starts. The 22-year-old rookie joins Tiny Thompson, who did it for Boston in 1929-30.

2009 — Russia defends its gold medal at the world ice hockey championship, beating Canada 2-1 on in a rematch of last year’s final.

2014 — Michael Sam is picked by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the NFL draft, becoming the first openly gay player drafted by a pro football team. Sam, who played at Missouri and was the Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year, is taken with the 249th overall pick out of 256.

2016 — Stephen Curry becomes the first unanimous NBA MVP, earning the award for the second straight season after leading the defending champion Warriors to a record-setting season. Curry is the 11th player in league history to be voted MVP in consecutive seasons and the first guard to do so since Steve Nash in 2004-05 and 2005-06. Curry received 1,310 points from the 131 media voters.

2018 — Rafael Nadal breaks John McEnroe’s record of 49 straight sets won on the same surface after beating Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-4 in the third round of the Madrid Open. Nadal extends his winning streak to 50 consecutive sets on clay, eclipsing the mark McEnroe established on carpet in 1984.

2018 — The Winnipeg Jets advance to the first Western Conference final in their short history after knocking off the NHL’s best team in the regular season. Tyler Myers and Paul Stastny score 2:06 apart in the first period, and the Jets stun the Nashville Predators 5-1 in their first Game 7.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

The New York Knicks win the 1973 NBA title. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.

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