LOS ANGELES KINGS (8-9-3) at
EDMONTON OILERS (9-9-2)
Start Time: 8:08 p.m. MST
Television: TSN (HD)
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Today's Game Notes
|Ales Hemsky slips one past Kings goaltender Dan Cloutier during a game last season.
(Photo by Andy Devlin/EOHC)
by Nick Conrad | edmontonoilers.com
|THE ESSENTIALS FOR TONIGHT
A five-day reprieve from hockey games might be just what the Oilers needed to collect their collective thoughts.
It fell on the quarter pole, the 20-game marker, after which the Oilers sit even-steven at 9-9-2: 2-2-2 at home and 7-7 on the road. 14 of 20 games have been played on the road including four road back-to-back sets.
But the Oilers aren’t making excuses. In the NHL, excuses aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on by the hordes of media that question every play and every move.
“The schedule’s been tough...” Craig MacTavish said on Tuesday. “(But) we’ve yet to play to our full potential...the bottom line for me is there’s lots of room for improvement and we’re still in a decent position to do that.”
The Oilers continue to practice hard, juggle lines, inject new life with AHL call-ups and find ways to win. And even casual followers of the Edmonton Oilers know that the party line for victory is high-energy, check-finishing, lung-burning hockey which is exemplified by the recent call-ups of Liam Reddox
and Tim Sestito, who will play his first NHL game tonight.
“We’ve changed a lot of bodies...there’s some system changes,” MacTavish said. “We need some pop in our lineup.”
Tonight, the Oilers will face the Los Angeles Kings which means a reunion of sorts: Jarret Stoll, Matt Greene and Lubomir Visnovsky will face their former teams for the first time. It is also an important test as the rested Oilers are facing a team that played and lost 6-2 last night to the Flames and sits only one back in the standings.
Edmonton has played .500 hockey against the Kings the past two seasons with a 4-4-0 record consisting of a 1-1-0 record at both Rexall Place and the Staples Center in Los Angeles in both 2006-07 and 2007-08.
Just The Facts...
Dwayne Roloson gets the start in goal once again for the Oilers.
OILERS TO WATCH:
The Kid Line—Sam Gagner
, Andrew Cogliano
and Robert Nilsson—is back together tonight...Shawn Horcoff
is a leader on this team and want to come out strong tonight. He’s got five goals and 15 assists in 26 games versus the Kings.
KINGS TO WATCH:
Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene face their former team for the first time...Jason LaBarbera will get the start in goal. He started the first 10 games of the season but hasn’t played since...Dustin Brown leads the Kings in goals with eight but also is third in the NHL with 69 hits and 87 shots.
Edmonton – Fernando Pisani (broken ankle) is out. Steve MacIntyre
(orbital bone) is out; Los Angeles - John Zeiler (suspension) is out. Jack Johnson (shoulder) is out.
The five days between games is the longest stretch of the season for the Oilers with the exception of a six-day break during the NHL All-Star break in January… …Edmonton is 80-55-30-1 all-time versus the Kings…the 80 wins over the Kings are the fourth most by the Oilers against NHL opponents…the Oilers take to the road once again following tonight’s game as they visit St. Louis and Dallas for back-to-back games on November 29th-30th…it will be Edmonton’s seventh set of back-to-back games on the season…to date they are 3-3-0 in the first game and 4-2-0 in the second game.
Oilers Update for Tuesday, November 25
- Craig MacTavish also addressed the media and spoke on a wide variety of topics Tuesday. Listen to the ten minute interview
or follow the link for a rundown on all things Oilers from Tuesday's practice. ...more
The Other Side
- Royal Road Report: LaBarbera In - The Kings struggled in their fourth game outside of California (2-2-0), suffering a 6-2 loss at Calgary. Jarome Iginla had a goal and an assist to help knock out Erik Ersberg, as Jason LaBarbera saw action for the first time since Nov. 1 ...more
- Tom Priessing's Blog - His fourth entry, Tom complains about construction near his house, oh yeah and recalls Brownie's hit...more
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- My Five with Erik Cole - Erik Cole wasted no time naming his favourite hockey players of all time, and a current teammate slipped in at #5. Click for the name of that Top 5 player as well as Erik's Top 5 in three other categories. ...more
- Tom Gilbert's Blog: Home Sweet Home - It’s been almost two weeks since I last wrote in my blog so I thought I’d take a few minutes to recap what’s happened. An autograph signing, a kids movie, and a bit of Cogliano's cooking were highlights this past week. ...more
- The LINK: A look back at the Heritage Classic - In the most recent edition of The Link, we look back at the Heritage Classic which was five years ago this week. We also take a look at the 1954-55 Edmonton Flyers. Several Hall of Famers from that team recently visited Rexall Place. ...more
From the Wire (AP)
The Edmonton Oilers were one of the last teams in the league to lose a game, but very little has gone right since their fast start.
The Oilers look to get out of their funk and avoid losing their fifth straight game at Rexall Place when they host the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday.
Edmonton (9-9-2) opened the 2008-09 season with four straight wins before losing 3-0 to Chicago on Oct. 22. Minnesota became the NHL's last team to suffer a loss one night later.
The Oilers' fast start has been wasted, however, as they've gone just 5-9-2 since and now own the fifth-worst record in the Western Conference.
Edmonton lost for the fourth time in five games with Thursday's 4-3 setback to Detroit, prompting coach Craig MacTavish to keep the dressing room closed for 15 minutes after the game.
"There's not enough personal commitment collectively to battle," MacTavish said. "Whether you are a small guy, medium guy, young guy, experienced guy, you have to battle. You have to get in there. We're not competing hard enough collectively, especially in our own building. We haven't played a good game in our building yet. We have to come out and start taking charge in our building otherwise it is no advantage."
After opening the season with consecutive wins at Rexall Place, the Oilers have dropped their last four games there. They have not lost five straight home games since an eight-game home slide Feb. 27-March 21, 2007.
Penalty killing has been a major problem for Edmonton, which allowed the Red Wings to convert 3 of 5 power-play opportunities Thursday. The Oilers are second-worst in the league at penalty killing (73.9 percent), and have stopped just 6 of 13 of their opponents' power-play chances in their last three home games.
Goaltender Dwayne Roloson was pulled 10 minutes into Thursday's game after allowing three goals on 10 shots. Mathieu Garon replaced him and stopped 24 of 25 shots, but was saddled with his fifth straight loss.
Garon may get the start Wednesday, as he's 3-1-0 with a 2.95 goals-against average against the Kings (8-9-3) since 2003-04. Roloson is 2-2-0 with a 2.76 GAA and one shutout versus Los Angeles since 2005-06. The Oilers went 2-2-0 against the Kings last season.
Los Angeles has dropped four of its last five games, including a 6-2 loss to Calgary on Tuesday.
"You want to get your legs early when you're playing on the road and we didn't get them all game," Wayne Simmonds said.
The Kings hope center Anze Kopitar, who scored his fourth goal of the season Tuesday, is finally starting to find his rhythm. Kopitar has two goals in his last three games after scoring just two in his first 17. He ranked second on Los Angeles with 32 goals last season, including three in four games against the Oilers.
Goalie Erik Ersberg made his 10th consecutive start Tuesday, but gave up four goals on 18 shots and was pulled midway through the second period.
Jason LaBarbera replaced Ersberg and made 15 saves over the final 30 minutes. LaBarbera has posted a 1.00 GAA in winning three career starts versus the Oilers, while Ersberg has never faced them.