|Rob Schremp and Andrew Cogliano celebrate Cogliano's third period goal as LA's Dustin Brown looks on at Staples Center on December 5, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)|
Three straight Oilers goals, four straight Kings goals, and a final marker by Dustin Penner forced extra time Friday night in L.A., but Ales Hemsky ruined the comeback for the Kings by scoring the game-winner in the shootout.
Ethan Moreau, Marc Pouliot, and Andrew Cogliano scored Edmonton's first three goals, Denis Grebeshkov and Rob Schremp earned two assists each, and Mathieu Garon stopped 32 shots for his second consecutive win.
Eight minutes into the game, the Oilers' Erik Cole battled to gain control of the puck deep in the Kings zone and then delivered a short pass to Ethan Moreau, who beat Kings goalie Erik Ersberg from inside the face-off circle to put the visitors up 1-0.
The Kings tallied 10 shots before taking a tripping penalty and offering the Oilers the game's first powerplay at 12:25. The visitors were unable to increase their lead on the man-advantage, but their second line accomplished the feat six seconds into five-on-five. Jostling for room at the top of the crease, Marc Pouliot received Andrew Cogliano's pass from behind the net and converted it into his second goal in as many games and a 2-0 lead for the Oilers.
Two minutes later, a second Kings penalty paved the way for a 3-0 Oilers lead. With Edmonton swarming at the tail end of the powerplay and Los Angeles' Wayne Simmonds one second away from rejoining the play, Ersberg attempted to trigger a whistle by covering up the puck. But the disk slipped over to Cogliano and the young center capitalized on the misplay, firing into a wide-open net to score Edmoton's third unanswered goal. After registering an assist on Pouliot's goal, rookie Rob Schremp added a second helper on Cogliano's marker.
After allowing three goals on 13 shots, Ersberg was replaced by Jason LaBarbera to start the second period. The goaltending change triggered a scoring change at the opposite end of the ice when Michal Handzus beat Garon on a rebound to get the Kings on the board less than two minutes into the frame.
The goal inspired Kings sniper Anze Kopitar. Two minutes after the goal, Kopitar positioned himself in front of Garon and persistently plugged at the puck until it crossed the line and cut Edmonton's lead to one.
At 6:14, Shawn Horcoff took a high-sticking minor to give the Kings their first powerplay of the game. 48 seconds into the man-advantage, former Oiler Jarret Stoll snuck the puck under Garon's cross-bar to dissolve the visitors' lead and tie the game at three.
Unfortunately for the Oilers, the Kings kept coming. Only eight seconds into a tripping penalty to Dustin Penner, Alexander Frolov wristed the puck into the mesh to make the Kings two-for-two on the powerplay and give the home team its first lead of the game.
Two Kings penalties helped the Oilers assume a 28-26 shot lead in the final minutes of the frame. With Drew Doughty in the penalty box for charging, Edmonton was up a man but down a goal to start the third period.
Despite cracking the 30-shot mark early in the final frame, the Oilers were unable to find an equalizer in the remainder of the powerplay or the minutes that immediately followed. But the club kept pressure on LaBarbera, and after firing 10 shots without allowing a single attempt, Dustin Penner managed to tip in Horcoff's shot to tie the game at four.
LaBarbera and Garon each faced a handful of shots in the latter half of the final frame, but the goalies closed their gates to force extra time. At the end of regulation, the Oilers had tallied 43 shots while the Kings sat at 33.
Five minutes of intense four-on-four sudden death resulted in three shots for the Kings and one for the Oilers but no game-winning goals. As such, the game proceeded to a shootout.
Garon and LaBarbera robbed the first three shooters, but Pouliot broke the goaltendering duel by backhanding the puck above the Kings netminder. Even though Patrick O'Sullivan beat Garon on the following shot, a second top-shelf goal, this time by Ales Hemsky, secured a 5-4 shootout victory for the Oilers and a winning start to their two-game California road trip.