Preview: Oilers at Kings
EDMONTON OILERS (27-23-4) at
LOS ANGELES KINGS (24-22-7)
Start Time: 2:08 p.m. MST
Television: Rogers Sportsnet West
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Saturday's Game Notes | Oilers/Kings Head-to-Head | Stats Comparison
by Nick Conrad | edmontonoilers.com
|THE ESSENTIALS FOR SATURDAY
It had been a sleepy February for the Oilers; the copper and blue went 1-3-1 (including an 8-3 blowout loss to Detroit, five games after giving up 10 goals to Buffalo) in five February games.
But that was before Wednesday’s game vs. Montreal when the Oilers were on the right side a blowout, a 7-2 dismantling of the reeling Canadiens. Team and fans alike seem to have awoken.
After their quick stopover in Edmonton Wednesday, the Oilers (27-23-4) are back on the road to face the L.A. Kings (24-22-4) in a Valentine’s Day afternoon bout at the STAPLES Center.
The Kings have played their way into the Western Conference log jam going 7-2-1 in their last 10 games to hover near the eighth playoff spot. They currently have 55 points and sit in eleventh place.
L.A. had won four straight games in February before being shut out 2-0 in Calgary on Thursday.
The last time Edmonton and L.A. faced off, a wild game was settled—fittingly—in a shootout. On Dec. 5 in L.A., the Oilers jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead before giving up four straight goals in the second period. Dustin Penner
tied it up in the third and Ales Hemsky
scored the shootout winner.
This is the third meeting of the season between the two club with the series tied at one apiece.
Edmonton will next play a back-to-back set on Monday and Tuesday vs. Phoenix and San Jose before finishing up the road trip in Dallas. The Oilers will face the Flames on Feb. 21 in the first of a four-game homestand.
Just The Facts...
OILERS TO WATCH:
After a mini-slump of three straight scoreless games, Ales Hemsky
has scored 1-2-3 in his last two games. He’s got nine goals and 12 assists for 21 points in 19 games vs. the Kings...Tom Gilbert
has already surpassed his career-high in assists and continues to put up helpers. He had three on Wednesday and now has 27 on the season which is tied for ninth in the league for assists by a defenceman...Erik Cole hasn’t scored a point since Jan. 27 and is due for a goal. He’s had some success against L.A. scoring 2-3-5 in six games.
KINGS TO WATCH:
Anze Kopitar had scored four goals in three games before being kept off the scoreboard in his last game. He’s lit it up against the Oilers scoring 5-8-13 in nine games vs. Edmonton and he leads the Kings with 43 points...Dustin Brown is second on the Kings in goals (22) and points (41) and is third in the league in hits (190). He’s got six goals and six assists in 14 games vs. the Oilers.
Edmonton—Lubomir Visnovsky (torn labrum) is out. Denis Grebeshkov (high ankle sprain) is out. Fernando Pisani (ankle) is questionable; Los Angeles—Tom Preissing (upper body) is out.
The Kings are 12-1-1 this season when Anze Kopitar scores a goal and 35-16-7 all-time when he scores a goal...Former Oilers Matt Greene and Jarret Stoll have been hot for the Kings...Greene is ninth in the league in blocked shots (121) and 18th in hits (132)...Stoll has 10 points (4-6-10) in his last 10 games and is tied for seventh in the NHL in faceoff win percentage (57.0)...Edmonton leads the all-time series against the Kings with a record of 81-56-30-1 and has outscored Los Angeles 707-618.
Peckham recalled from Springfield
- General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the Edmonton Oilers have recalled defenceman Theo Peckham
from the Springfield Falcons. The 6’2”, 223 pound defenceman is currently Springfield's top-scoring defenceman. ...more
The Other Side - news from LAKings.com
- Kings ready for playoff push - All through training camp, Terry Murray had five dots painted on the ice for what he called home plate to reinforce the focus of preventing goals instead of scoring them, with a GAA in the top five in the West, looks like it paid off. ...more
- Flames end Kings' winning streak - The Kings outshot the Flames 36-20 but saw their season-high four-game winning streak end in a 2-0 loss at the STAPLES Center on Thursday, the start of a three-game home stretch for L.A. ...more
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- The LINK: Shaved Heads & Pisani's hockey school - On this episode of The Link, we look at the Valentine's Day Hair Massacure where Ethan Moreau and Ales Hemsky shaved their heads. We also take a closer look at Fernando Pisani's hockey school. Follow the link for the show. ...more
- 5 Questions with Kyle Brodziak - We recently sat down with Kyle Brodziak and asked him five fan-favourite questions on topics from pre-game meals to non-hockey affiliations. Check out his answers. ...more
- Gilbert's taken dream path to the NHL - Tom Gilbert is living the dream every aspiring hockey player growing up in the United States envisions. It started at Bloomington Jefferson High School in Minnesota, where Gilbert made the switch from forward to defence. ...more
From the Wire (AP)
A recent run of success on the road may have the Los Angeles Kings glad that 19 of their remaining 29 games will be played outside of Staples Center.
But if the Kings don't begin to play better at home, they still may not have much chance of returning to the postseason.
Two days after being shut out for the second time in its past three home games, Los Angeles will try to rebound Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers, one of the teams it's chasing in the crowded Western Conference.
Going into Thursday night's game against Calgary, the Kings (24-22-7) had played eight of their previous nine on the road, winning the last four to finish the stretch 7-1-1 and surge back into the playoff race. They haven't been to the postseason since 2002.
But Los Angeles couldn't solve Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who stopped 36 shots in Calgary's 2-0 win. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick allowed one goal on 20 shots, but his teammates were shut out for the eighth time this season, matching Phoenix for the most in the NHL.
The Kings had averaged 3.9 goals in their previous eight games - seven on the road. They've been held under two goals seven times in their last 11 home games, including three shutouts.
Los Angeles is 3-6-2 over that span, including 1-4-0 in the last five while totaling two goals in the losses.
"When you're coming home and you've got some momentum, you've played well, you've got to find a way to do it," Los Angeles coach Terry Murray said. "You've got to score. You've got to win the game. If you let too many of those opportunities slide by, again you're chasing from behind too far."
The Kings are in a three-way tie for 11th in the West, four points out of the eighth and final playoff berth.
The Oilers (27-23-4) are only one point back of that spot, hoping to avoid missing the postseason for a third straight year.
Edmonton has allowed at least eight goals twice since the All-Star break, but it was finally on the winning end of a blowout Wednesday night, 7-2 over visiting Montreal.
Coach Craig MacTavish's team led 4-0 in the first period and had seven different goal scorers, going 3-for-7 on the power play and igniting an offense that totaled four goals in its first five February games, losing four.
"It was a big game for us confidence-wise," defenseman Sheldon Souray said. "We didn't play the prettiest of games, but we worked hard and got pucks to the net. We did things that we said we wanted to do."
Souray has totaled 23 of his 34 points on the road for Edmonton, which now opens a four-game trip which includes three matchups with opponents also seeking one of the West's final playoff spots.
The Oilers and the Kings have split two meetings this season, most recently Edmonton's 5-4 shootout win in Los Angeles on Dec. 5. The Kings lost after erasing a 3-0 first-period deficit with four goals in the second.
None of the three goalies who saw action in that game are likely to play Saturday. Jason LaBarbera has since been traded away by the Kings and Mathieu Garon was dealt by the Oilers, while Los Angeles' Erik Ersberg hasn't played since Jan. 17 due to a lower-body injury.
The 23-year-old Quick, who is 11-7-0 with a 2.33 goals-against average, has taken control of the Kings' starting job, while veteran Dwayne Roloson has started 10 straight games for Edmonton.