LOS ANGELES, CA - The Oilers found themselves under siege right from the start of the game as the Los Angeles Kings were on a roll offensively in a 6-1 win over the visitors from Edmonton.
The Kings scored two goals in the game’s fist five minutes.
“It was a tough start for our team, playing the Stanley Cup Champions,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “You can’t have any let-off of your game. I think we came off cautious. I thought we had some bad luck during the game as well. It just goes to reconfirm that every moment in the game is an important one. We can’t come tiptoeing in against a team like this. We need all of our guys to play with confidence and not take our foots off the pedal. We need to play a fast and hard game and we came off of that early. It cost us.”
Oilers defenceman and 2013 first-round pick Darnell Nurse, playing in his first NHL game, checked Tanner Pearson along the wall. Pearson freed the puck to Tyler Toffoli, who passed it out in front to Jeff Carter in the slot. Carter’s goal opened the scoring at 3:06 of the first period.
At 4:21, Anze Kopitar passed the puck to Justin Williams on a 2-on-1 rush and the Kings winger buried it for the 2-0 lead.
Pearson went to the box for hooking at 8:30 of the first, giving the Oilers their first power play of the game. What should have given them the advantage led to Los Angeles taking a 3-0 lead.
Toffoli scored shorthanded at 9:49, roofing a shot over goaltender Viktor Fasth. He was assisted by Slava Voynov.
“That’s a great hockey team over there,” Oilers winger Matt Hendricks said. “That’s a better hockey team than we are right now. We didn’t do the things that you could see they were doing. We talked about it before the game about how they’re great at getting pucks deep, they put pucks where they want them and the puck works for them. We wanted to do the same thing tonight, but we got away from that and didn’t execute early.”
The Oilers came into the game without the services of two of their top four scorers from last season. Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were held out of the lineup. The team suffered another blow, this time in net.
Ben Scrivens came into the game for Fasth after the third goal. It was later announced that Fasth had left the game with a groin injury and would not return.
The second period brought more dominance by the Kings. 5:04 into the middle frame, Dwight King chipped the puck in front of the net and Dustin Brown batted it in out of midair. Jarret Stoll had the second assist.
The Kings gained a 5-0 lead just 25 seconds after Brown’s goal. Pearson spun and fired a shot on Scrivens for the big lead. Carter got the assist.
The Oilers came at the Kings with a 3-on-1 rush a few minutes later, but Hall’s shot was denied by Jonathan Quick.
Despite the wide gap in the score, the Oilers outshot the Kings 12-7 in the second period and the shots were 20-19 in favour of LA through 40 minutes.
“About the only positive I can bring from it is the way our bench stuck together during the game,” Eakins said. “Last year it would have been a dissected, pulled apart, slamming of doors, controversy on the bench and that wasn’t there. We’re encouraged by that but there are some great lessons to be learned from this game tonight.”
Pearson scored his second of the game at 5:59 of the third period, on the power play, to make it a 6-0 game. Pearson was assisted by Alec Martinez and Mike Richards.
Hendricks broke the shutout with 20 seconds left in the game from a bad angle, making the final score 6-1.