EDMONTON OILERS (12-14-1) at
LOS ANGELES KINGS (10-14-1)
8:38 p.m. MST
Rogers Sportsnet West (HD)
630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Game Notes | Edmonton/LA Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics
The Edmonton Oilers complete their stretch of two games in two days in the Los Angeles area tonight with a meeting against the Los Angeles Kings.
Edmonton is in the midst of playing their best hockey of the season right now. In their last seven games, the club is 5-2-0 with their only two losses coming to the Colorado Avalanche.
The club is coming off its two biggest wins of the season, defeating the Anaheim Ducks 5-1 and 4-0 in both ends of a home-and-home series.
Edmonton remains in 12th in the Western Conference after last night's win but are now within three points of the eighth and final playoff spot. Four teams are currently tied for that position - Nashville, San Jose, Columbus and Anaheim. Looking further up the standings, the Oilers are five points out of fifth in the conference and seven from top spot in the Northwest Division.
Los Angeles is a team that's hoping to go on an Oiler-like run to try and get back in the playoff race. With 21 points right now, the Kings sit dead last in the Western Conference and have won only twice in their last nine games - both against the San Jose Sharks.
In their last game, the Kings dropped a 5-2 decision on home ice to the Avalanche.
This is the second meeting of the season between Edmonton and L.A. the Kings won 4-1 at the Staples Center on October 27.
Just The Facts...
From Craig MacTavish's comments this morning, it looks like he will be going back with Mathieu Garon in goal tonight against the Kings. It will be Garon's first game against his former team.
OILERS TO WATCH:
Perhaps mindful of tonight's second game in two nights and aided by the team's lead, coach Craig MacTavish limited the icetime of several of his key players on Sunday night. Although he scored a goal and was +1, Tom Gilbert
only played 18:01 - his lowest total since October 20. He might be logging a lot more minutes this evening. Forwards Andrew Cogliano
, Robert Nilsson and Sam Gagner
also played between 10 and 12 minutes so they might be called upon to play more tonight.
KINGS TO WATCH:
Kings forward Derek Armstrong has played well against the Oilers in his career to-date. In 16 career games, he has 10 points (3g, 7a)... Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin has also done well against Edmonton in his career with a 2-1-0 record in four career games with a 2.17 goals-against average... Dustin Brown is a physical force for Los Angeles, leading the NHL with 100 hits this season. Last season he had 258 all year which ranked second in the NHL. He has 10 goals and 18 points in 25 games this year and is currently in the middle of a four-game scoring streak.
Edmonton – Ales Hemsky
(knee) is out. Geoff Sanderson (back) is out. Sheldon Souray
(shoulder) is out. Ethan Moreau (foot) is out. Matt Greene (ankle) is out. Dick Tarnstrom (concussion) is out; Los Angeles – Alexander Frolov (groin) is out. Scott Thornton (sternum) is questionable.
Edmonton is 5-1-0 against the Pacific Division so far this season with their only loss coming against Los Angeles on October 27. In contrast to the Ducks, who lead the league in penalty minutes per game, their crosstown rivals in Los Angeles are the least-penalized team in the league. L.A. averages less than 10 minutes per game and has only given up 97 power plays all year - tied with Boston for fewest in that category... The Oilers are 5-0-1 when leading after two periods this season but 0-12-0 when trailing after two. When the game is tied after two periods, the Oilers have done well, winning seven of nine. They are also 9-1-0 when scoring first in a game while the L.A. Kings oddly enough are 3-5-0 when scoring first this season and a slightly better 7-9-1 when their opponent scores first.
Last Night's Post-Game Audio...
The Other Side
Odds and Ends
- How well does Matt Greene know Raffi Torres? - We quizzed defenceman Matt Greene on how well he knows his teammate. See how he did! 700K
- Matt Greene on Oilers Live this Thursday! - Oilers Live continues this Thursday at 1:00 p.m. when Matt Greene will be our guest. Follow the link to ask Matt a question. Ask a Question
From the Wire
Fresh off a home-and-home sweep of the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Edmonton Oilers look to build on the momentum when they visit the struggling Los Angeles Kings on Monday night.
Edmonton (12-14-1) leads only the Calgary Flames in the Northwest Division but has played its best hockey of the season lately, winning four of its last five games and seven of 11, including a weekend home-and-home sweep of the Anaheim Ducks by a combined 9-1 margin.
After a 5-1 home victory on Friday, the Oilers won 4-0 at Anaheim on Sunday. Prior to the games against the Ducks, Edmonton had scored four goals or more just once in its previous eight contests.
Raffi Torres, Dustin Penner, Tom Gilbert and Joni Pitkanen scored the goals Sunday, with Penner's the most bizarre. The left wing scored his fifth goal of the season late in the first period after the puck deflected off his mouth.
"You throw pucks at the net and you never know what happens, it could go off your head, off your leg they all count," said Penner, who has three goals and four assists in 11 career games versus the Kings. "It's probably the nicest goal I've had in a while."
Backup goaltender - and former King - Mathieu Garon recorded 25 saves for his second shutout of the season and 12th of his career.
Garon spent the previous two seasons in Los Angeles, where he went 13-10-6 with a 2.66 goals-against average last year before signing as an unrestricted free-agent with the Oilers in July.
If he gets the chance to face his former team, it will be the third time he's gone up against the Kings (10-14-1). He is 1-1-0 with a 2.01 GAA in starts in 2003 and 2004, while with the Montreal Canadiens.
Usual starting goaltender Dwayne Roloson is 6-9-0 with five ties and a 2.23 GAA lifetime against the Kings. He recorded 27 saves in a 4-1 loss at Los Angeles on Oct. 27.
Patrick O'Sullivan scored two goals to lead the Kings in that contest - Los Angeles' second straight win over the Oilers after losing 10 of the previous 15 meetings.
Overall, though, Los Angeles has dropped two of three and six of eight, including a 5-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, when the Kings let an early two-goal lead slip away.
"We had a great first period and it looked like we were going to have a great game, and then the wheels completely fell off. I wish I had an explanation as to why," Kings coach Marc Crawford said.
The defeat was especially painful for goaltender Jason LaBarbera, who left the game after 45 minutes with a rib injury. Backup Jean-Sebastien Aubin allowed two goals, recording only three saves.
LaBarbera's status for Monday night is uncertain, as is the status of left wing Alexander Frolov, who missed his fourth straight game Saturday with a groin injury.