LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings thrive on grinding out low-scoring games. They usually don't have to grind for this long, though, particularly against a struggling defense.
L.A. put a season-high 48 shots on newly-recalled Edmonton Oilers goalie Richard Bachman and still managed only one goal. It wasn't until Anze Kopitar scored in the third round of a shootout Sunday night that the Kings earned a 2-1 win at Staples Center.
"You've got to keep on plugging away," Kopitar said. "That's what it is. Last game, we scored four in the first. Tonight, we just couldn't do it. But you can't get frustrated; keep on going, keep on going. Eventually, they're going to go in. Having 48 shots meant we were doing something right."
Kopitar snapped a shot past the blocker side of Bachman to end a defensive stalemate. Jonathan Quick made 17 saves and stopped David Perron and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the shootout to barely edge Bachman, who stopped Jeff Carter but allowed shootout goals to Mike Richards and Kopitar. Jordan Eberle scored in the shootout for Edmonton.
Bachman stopped all 23 shots he faced in the third period and another three in overtime, while his team put six shots on the Kings' net in regulation and none in the extra session. He also helped kill a too many men penalty in overtime to continue his dominance over L.A.
Bachman has stopped 95 of 97 shots in three career appearances against the Kings. And this performance came on short notice as Bachman was in San Antonio with the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League on Saturday night and arrived in L.A. on 10:30 a.m. with no morning skate to get ready.
"You're just trying to get the feel of it there quickly," Bachman said. "The first period was pretty routine in terms of shots against, but it was nice. They had a couple of long shots and I was able to see almost all of them, which helped me get into a rhythm and helped me get into a groove out there."
After the barrage, Bachman then had to face Richards, Carter and Kopitar in the shootout.
"It's a tough lineup," Bachman said. "You want to get that point. It's a huge point. But it's a shootout. It's 50-50 half the time. Obviously, you want the win. It's a little disappointing there."
This hasn't been an inscrutable homestand so far for L.A., which blew leads in each of the previous four games and given the opposition 19 power plays in that span. They also went 0-for-5 on the power play against a team that had allowed an NHL-high 48 goals.
Just when it looked like L.A. would go into the third period down, 1-0, Richards' patience paid off down low when he grabbed Jake Muzzin's rebound, took his time and scored on a sharp-angle shot from the left side of the net at 16:58 of the second. Matt Frattin helped screen goalie Bachman, who couldn't track the puck until Richards fired it past his shoulder.
Bachman started because Devan Dubynk has a sore ankle, and the Oilers did not deem Jason LaBarbera worthy for back-to-back starts after a loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday. It made sense given Bachman was 2-0 with a 0.57 goals-against average against L.A.
"When a guy gets the call-up and he gets the chance to play, we expect his best effort," Carter said. "I thought he played a heck of a game. For us, we tried to make it as tough as possible – bodies and pucks at the net. We threw 48 shots at the net. He played a heck of a game, and we were able to get two points."
Bachman wasn't tested much early, but held his ground on a night when the usually fast-skating Oilers muddled against the plodding Kings. Edmonton put 12 shots on goal in the first two periods despite getting four power plays and was outshot 48-18 in regulation and overtime.
Edmonton captain Andrew Ference said his team needed to get a win for Bachman.
"It's a very tough team to play against for a goalie," Ference said. "They stuff a lot of pucks around the net. They have a lot of traffic. But he really stood strong on the tight stuff and then he found a lot of pucks through bodies and through traffic. It was a great performance by him.
"We didn't put as much rubber on Quick as we would have liked, but I think the game was a good sign for us. Like I said, there's no shortage of available excuses for guys with injuries and back-to-backs and guys aren't taking that route, which is nice to see."
The Oilers did end an 0-for-23 slump on the power play.
Nail Yakupov's first goal this season was a one-timer off Anton Belov's rebound at 4:12 of the second period after Ales Hemsky brought the puck across the blue line. Muzzin was serving an interference penalty. It ended a seven-game drought, dating to Edmonton's last power-play goal Oct.12.
L.A. is 12-1-4 against Edmonton the past 17 meetings.
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