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game preview

PREVIEW: Oilers vs. Kings

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 2:49 AM

Chris Wescott - edmontonoilers.com

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PREVIEW: Oilers vs. Kings
Los Angeles Kings vs. Edmonton Oilers


INSIDE THE OILERS

 

News from the Oilers' practice Wednesday plus Darnell Nurse's reassignment to the Oklahoma City Barons Wednesday evening.

>> READ MORE IN THE INSIDE THE OILERS BLOG

 

AT MORNING SKATE

 

EDMONTON, AB - The Los Angeles Kings come to town to take on the Oilers, looking for the season-series sweep. Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins spoke at length this morning about what it takes to beat a team he believes is a good bet to be in the Stanley Cup Finals.

“I find L.A. to be the, for our group, the most difficult of the bunch,” Eakins said. “St. Louis is right there too but for our team, L.A. is a bunch of these robotic players and they keep coming hard, they try to bully you at your net. I think they get away with a fair amount because it’s the whole perception of well, that’s just how they play and I think they get the benefit of the doubt a lot of times. Those are the things you have to battle through.

“Our big message today is down low, our low forward and our d-zone coverage and our d-men, you have to box these guys out away from the net. We can’t let them in on top of our goalie because that’s where we know they’re going to go. They’re not coming to the blue paint, they’re coming in it and that’s the game and that’s what we’re really going to have to look after first and foremost. Then after that, we’ve got to challenge them offensively and in whatever way you bring. We’ve got one line that has some skill and can kill you off the rush, if they get the cycle game going we can have success there. You’ve got another line that can do a bit of that as well and our other two lines are going to have to chip the puck in, throw everything at the net and play a little bit of the L.A. game. There’s a number of challenges with a team like this that is a firm, put your money down on being in the Stanley Cup Final.”

Oilers forward Ryan Smyth has seen just how dominate the Kings can be against the Oilers.

“As of the last few years for sure they’ve had our numbers,” Smyth said. “It’s a matter of matching the intensity. Our skill set is equal to or as better than those guys but we’ve got to play the team game and play in those harder areas that help our skill prevail.”

The Kings are 9-0-2 in their last 11 trips to Rexall Place and has gained at least a point in 21 of their last 22 meetings (15-1-6).

The Oilers have just two games remaining in the season and look to end on a high note.

“Just play as well as we can,” Oilers forward Taylor Hall said. “That’s all we can really do at this point is play to our capacity and play to our potential. Going into the offseason with a couple of wins is always better than going in with a couple of losses so that’s our mindset.”

EYES ON 80

Taylor Hall has 77 points (27-50-77) in 73 games this season. After already posting career-high numbers, Hall zeroes in on another career achievement, 80 points.

“I’d like to get as many points as I can,” Hall said. “If we’re playing well as a line, that’s going to happen. Nuge and Ebs, like I’ve said many many times before, they’re great players to play with and if we’re doing our job and we’re playing well the goals are going to follow and points and everything like that too.”

REPLACING BOYD

Boyd Gordon will miss the season’s final two games with a shoulder injury. Replacing him will be a task for two of the Oilers younger centres as an injury depleted lineup gets a little more jumbled. Will Acton and Anton Lander will rotate in the lineup at centre to take on some of the responsibilities normally given to Gordon.

“It will be both,” Eakins said. “Both guys there will play centre and then we’re going to work the wingers around them. My plan going into the game is we’ve got 11 forwards, I’ll run the four centremen and then I’ll just keep flipping guys down on those two guys’ wings. Acton and Lander will see a number of different wingers tonight but they’ll both be in the middle.”

SEARCHING FOR IMPROVEMENTS

The Oilers have two games left in the season to continue to try and improve and set themselves up with positives to draw on going into next season. Taylor Hall said that from the 20-game mark or so until now, there have been some improvements but that needs to continue for the betterment of the team.

“I think there’s a little bit of a different feel just from the start of the year, probably the 20-game mark to game 80 where we’re at now, I think there’s been a big change where we’re viewing the game and the way we’re playing out there,” Hall said. “We’re not where we want to be just quite yet but I think the fundamentals are starting to be there and I think everyone is starting to see that. I think that’s the most important thing for a group like ours. We have to see improvements just for our mental state. For us, I think we’re seeing those and that’s big.”

-- Chris Wescott, edmontonoilers.com

 

NHL.COM PREVIEW

 

KINGS (45-28-7) at OILERS (28-43-9)

TV: TSN, FS-W

Last 10: Los Angeles 6-3-1; Edmonton 3-7-0

Season series: The Los Angeles Kings will go for the season sweep of the Edmonton Oilers in the fourth and final game between the teams. The Kings beat the Oilers 4-2 at Rexall Place on March 9 after winning two games at Staples Center.

Big story: Los Angeles knows it will play the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after the Anaheim Ducks beat the Sharks 5-2 on Wednesday to clinch the Pacific Division title. The Kings clinched their postseason berth and third place in the Pacific last Wednesday, and they have been waiting since to find out which California rival would finish second in the division and be their first-round opponent.

The Oilers will sit out the playoffs for the eighth straight season.

Team Scope:

Kings: Los Angeles rallied from a three-goal deficit to send its game Wednesday against the Calgary Flames past regulation, but the Kings lost 4-3 in a shootout.

"Obviously, you want to win," said forward Dwight King, whose third-period goal tied the game at 3-3. "You want to be playing better at the start of the game. That's something we can take from the game. Obviously, now it's behind us. We know what start we need to have and move forward."

The Kings have lost three straight and four of five. They wrap up their regular season Saturday night at Staples Center against the Ducks.

Oilers: Edmonton's two-game winning streak ended Tuesday in a 4-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens surrendered what turned out to be the game-winning goal to Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson 12 seconds after David Perron had scored to tie the game late in the first period.

"It was a small step backwards [Tuesday night]," defenseman Jeff Petry said. "We weren't sharp from the beginning of the game on. We weren't making tape-to-tape passes or catching passes. We were just a little bit off."

Edmonton on Wednesday assigned Darnell Nurse, its top pick (No. 7) at the 2013 NHL Draft, to the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League. The 19-year-old defenseman had 50 points (13 goals) in 64 regular-season games and eight points (three goals) in nine playoff games with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League this season.

The Oilers will play their final game this season Saturday night when they host the Vancouver Canucks.

Who's hot: Los Angeles right wing Marian Gaborik has at least a point in seven of eight games. He has a goal and seven assists over that span. Defenseman Slava Voynov has a goal and two assists in his past two games. … Edmonton defenseman Justin Schultz has two goals and an assist in his past three games. Perron has a goal in each of the past two games; he leads the Oilers with 28 goals.

Injury report: Kings defensemen Robyn Regehr (undisclosed) and Drew Doughty (upper body) are day-to-day. Each has sat out the past two games. … Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference (pectoral tear) and forwards Jesse Joensuu (high ankle sprain), Nail Yakupov (broken ankle), Ryan Jones (torn PCL), Boyd Gordon (shoulder) and Luke Gazdic (shoulder) will miss the final two games.

-- Sean McCullen, NHL.com
2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 10 '14 LAK 3 at EDM 0 A. Kopitar
Mar 09 '14 LAK 4 at EDM 2 J. Carter
Dec 17 '13 EDM 0 at LAK 3 D. King
Oct 27 '13 EDM 1 at LAK 2 - SO A. Kopitar
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
A. Kopitar81274168+3324109
J. Carter71272350+94485
J. Williams81192342+134841
M. Richards81113041-52843
D. Doughty78102737+186462
S. Voynov8142933+54410
D. King76151530+161803
T. Toffoli61121729+221015
M. Gaborik40111829+61010
J. Stoll7781927+84810
D. Brown78141226+66212
J. Muzzin7551924+75810
A. Martinez60111122+181432
R. Regehr7831013+84401
T. Lewis726511+0602
W. Mitchell7511011+135800
J. Nolan636410+05401
K. Clifford70358+68100
T. Pearson25347+2811
M. Frattin40246-61110
M. Greene37246+64500
L. Vey18055+0000
D. Carcillo26112-15701
C. Fraser33022-43000
A. Campbell3000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. Quick4827-17-39711592.05.916
M. Jones1912-6-0335001.81.934
B. Scrivens197-5-4324641.97.931
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
T. Hall74275077-164471
J. Eberle79273764-121864
D. Perron77282957-168882
R. Nugent-Hopkins79183654-132464
S. Gagner67102737-294111
J. Schultz73112132-211613
A. Hemsky5591726-132021
N. Yakupov63111324-333641
R. Smyth71101323-174251
B. Gordon7481321-152011
M. Arcobello4141418-7811
A. Ference7131518-186301
J. Petry7961016-244210
P. Larsen293811-4810
M. Hendricks76527-1111201
A. Belov56167-133400
R. Jones52246+04001
J. Joensuu42325-161611
M. Marincin43055-31600
C. Potter16055+02100
L. Gazdic67224-812700
N. Schultz60044-112400
W. Acton29213-42100
O. Klefbom16123-7000
T. Fedun4202-1000
M. Fraser41112-167600
L. Smid17112-61600
T. Pitlick9101-2000
A. Lander26011-10400
B. Eager7011+1200
D. Grebeshkov7011+0200
M. Brown8000+11900
S. Pinizzotto5000-21500
B. Hunt3000-3000
R. Horak2000-1000
R. Hamilton2000-2000
L. Omark1000-1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
B. Scrivens3915-16-49211632.57.921
D. Dubnyk3211-17-2948853.36.894
I. Bryzgalov205-8-5576223.01.908
V. Fasth125-5-2333402.82.903
J. LaBarbera71-3-0191463.28.870
R. Bachman30-2-17833.02.916