Kings @ Oilers Recap: LA Calmly Snaps a Three-Game Skid
How do you stop a losing streak? Here's your textbook answer.
The answer to the question above: play like the Los Angeles Kings did tonight, preferably against an opponent like the Edmonton Oilers.
The Kings' 5-2 win was dotted by some sloppy play early and late. Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans of the radio team pointed out how messy both squads were in the early going, and LA got some shots but missed plenty of opportunities. And of course, as the game wound down, the Kings let Edmonton have a lot more of the puck and their PK allowed a goal for the first time in quite some time. And what's a Kings game without a few penalties? All in all, though, it's tough to pick on them too much when the forwards were clicking as they did tonight.
They had help, though. Not to pick on Jordan Oesterle (82), who was playing in just his third NHL game and picked up his first career point (way to go bud!), but he didn't help out Ben Scrivens very much on this shot by Matt Greene:
And how about Jeff Carter lining up this one with bodies in front, also in the first? (No goal here, though.)
Sometimes, being out of position simply causes a chance to be missed, or a play to fizzle out, or a player to make a more dramatic recovery than expected. On Tuesday? It caused quite a few pucks to end up behind Ben Scrivens.
The best example was at a point when Edmonton still kinda sorta had a chance, with a minute to go in the first. After LA cleared the zone, Edmonton got the puck back in very quickly, allowing Benoit Pouliot a chance to set up Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for a clean look at goal. The pass was behind Nugent-Hopkins, though, and Justin Schultz's half-hearted pinch couldn't stop Marian Gaborik from flipping it past him for a 2-on-1. Anze Kopitar had the puck, and poor Oscar Klefbom had to decide whether to let Kopitar have the shot or allow him to do what he does best. Klefbom, flustered, ended up facing the other direction as Kopitar set up Lewis.
How about a little more Top Line Trevor Lewis? He picked up three points tonight, as did Kopitar, with both getting assists on that Greene goal. The third point for each came on Kopitar's goal in the third, which wasn't quite as pretty but fit the poor-Scrivens model; he flung the puck from just inside the blueline, and Schultz's attempts to dissuade Kopitar might have hurt Scrivens' focus. That made the lead four goals just 26 seconds into the period, and you couldn't have blamed Scrivens for pulling himself.
The second period was where LA really turned the screws,as Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli had two chances to get a shorthander. The first was basically a 2-on-2, but Toffoli had his shot blocked, which obviously convinced them to just force a 2-on-1 instead. Ten seconds later, they were off after Drew Doughty's clear rolled to the middle of the ice, and Toffoli put a saucer pass right in the slot for Carter to tip five-hole. It was Toffoli's first shorthanded point since he scored four SHGs in 15 games at the season's beginning, and Carter's first shorthanded point of the season, period. After Luke Gazdic countered with his own deflection to make it 3-1, the fourth line got a chance of their own, which Kyle Clifford buried as the Oilers' defense flailed around.
It isn't always this easy, but with two excellent road teams making their way to Staples this week, getting the "easy" two points was a necessity.