Kings blank Oilers 2-0 at Rexall Place
|Edmonton's Jordan Eberle battles near the goal with Los Angeles' Oscar Moller at Rexall Place Tuesday, March 29, 2011. The Kings shutout the Oilers 2-0. (Photo by Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club)
Dustin Brown scored twice in the second period, while netminder Jonathan Bernier stopped all 32 shots he faced, as the Los Angeles Kings shut-out the Oilers 2-0 Tuesday night at Rexall Place.
Rod Phillips' touching pre-game ceremony amped up the crowd at Rexall Place, but it was the visiting team that was able to capture the early momentum. Only 12 seconds into the match, Oilers speedster Andrew Cogliano
was assessed a tripping minor, sending Los Angeles to the game's first power-play opportunity. The Oilers were able to stymie that chance, however, allowing only two shots and no scoring opportunities during the two-minute advantage.
By the midway point of the opening frame, both sides had settled into a consistent pace, with the Kings establishing a decisive 9-2 edge on the shot clock. Nikolai Khabibulin
stoot tall, turning them all aside -- including a cleverly redirected Drew Doughty point shot -- to preserve the scoreless tie.
At the 10:04 mark, Kings captain Dustin Brown slid behind the Oilers defence as he embarked on a breakaway against Khabibulin. Following a series of stylish dekes, Brown was denied with the sliding effort of the Oilers netminder.
was charged with hooking on the play, however, and the Oilers found themselves shorthanded for the second time in the period. The Oilers were able to kill the chance, but a Tom Gilbert
tripping infraction at 12:11 put the Oilers on the disadvantage once again.
The Kings skated through 1:19 of unsuccessful power-play time before the man-advantage tables would turn. Dustin Brown was assessed a minor for holding the stick at 13:30, giving the Oilers an abbreviated chance to open the scoring.
Much like the Kings' earlier opportunities, Edmonton was unable to generate much in the way of offence. Jonathan Bernier made a pair of saves, setting the shot count at 18-5 for the visitors, but keeping the 0-0 stalemate intact.
With Michal Handzus in the box for tripping late in the period, the Oilers would register an additional two shots, but were unable to solve Bernier. As such, the Oilers and Kings concluded the period locked in a scoreless draw.
The Oilers were quickly able to erase Los Angeles' commanding shot advantage, as the home side would mark seven attempts on Bernier before the Kings would record a shot on Khabibulin in the middle frame.
It was the visitors' first shot of the period that proved troublesome for the Oilers, mind you. At the 5:11 mark, Trevor Lewis curled from the near corner before feeding a wide-open Dustin Brown for a tap-in. With Khabibulin and the Oilers defence covering the strong side, Brown easily tucked the puck into the back of the cage to gain a 1-0 Kings advantage.
Although the most of the period was played evenly, the Lewis-Brown connection struck once more late in the stanza. At 14:56, following a turnover by veteran rearguard Jason Strudwick
, Lewis passed to a streaking Brown in the high slot. The Kings captain wasted no time, releasing a quick one-timer that beat Khabibulin blocker-side, putting the visitors up by a pair.
After 40 minutes of play, Edmonton trailed 2-0 as Los Angeles opened up a 28-20 advantage on the shot clock.
The Oilers' quest for a comeback proved to be a challenging path, as the Kings deployed a well-executed neutral zone trap for much of the opening few minutes. Following a successful dump-and-chase near the midway point of the period, Edmonton was finally able to break through for a scoring opportunity. Teemu Hartikainen
set up Jordan Eberle
in the slot for a quick wrister; Bernier, however, was equal to the task, making a brilliant glove snatch to preserve his club's two-goal cushion.
The resulting momentum helped the home side establish further pressure in the offensive zone in the next few minutes. The Oilers, perhaps, were too eager to press as Ryan Jones
was charged with a hooking minor, 200 feet from his own goal, at 10:23.
The Kings' latest power-play opportunity would pass without incident, and the Oilers returned to full-strength with just over seven minutes to play. Edmonton had tightened the shot differential to 32-27 at this point, but the two-goal deficit remained in view as the home side's uphill climb.
Attacking on the rush seemed to be the key for the Oilers late in the game. With 4:16 remaining in the period, Teemu Hartikainen
burst up the wing and beat several Kings defenders before clunking a shot off the base of the goal-post.
With the Kings still up 2-0, the Oilers opted to remove Khabibulin from the crease in exchange for an extra attacker with just under two minutes to play.
Although the Oilers applied furious pressure as the clocked ticked down, the Kings were able to survive the attack and shut-out the hometown club 2-0. The Oilers were able to tighten the gap on the shot clock, but Los Angeles concluded the night with a 33-32 edge in attempts on goal.
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