LOS ANGELES – Slava Voynov is a small-framed defenseman who the Los Angeles Kings would like to see get a little stronger to defend big power forwards.
Any extra time he's recently spent in the weight room paid off in the offensive zone Monday.
Voynov's blast was strong enough to make it under Devan Dubnyk's right pad 34 seconds into the third period and Jonathan Quick recorded his League-leading 10th shutout in a 2-0 win against the Edmonton Oilers at the Staples Center.
The Kings pulled two points ahead of the Phoenix Coyotes and three points ahead of the San Jose Sharks in the Pacific Division. The win sets up a critical home-and-home series against San Jose that starts Thursday.
Voynov one-timed a pass from Anze Kopitar for his eighth goal this season, second to Drew Doughty among L.A. defensemen. It was his first game winner. Fellow rookie Dwight King added a goal with 2:32 remaining.
"Slava's a stud," Matt Greene said. "He gets his points whenever we need him. He never scores kind of a fifth goal or anything like that. It's always the go-ahead or the tying goal or the winning goal. He's a real stud back there."
L.A. lost many close, low-scoring games earlier in the season. But under coach Darryl Sutter, they are confident closing them out.
"We've been in one-goal games all year," Greene said. "It's nothing new, this defensive game and a low-scoring game. We're used to it."
Quick didn't get much work with 19 saves, including five in the third period. His 35th victory further establishes him as a Vezina Trophy candidate, although Sutter has specific criteria that Quick can't reach.
"You have to have 40 wins," Sutter said. "The guys that have 40 wins are the best goalies. And the next part is to do it when you're in the second week of April. Just like the horse in the first Saturday in May."
Sutter was more delighted at his team's penalty kill of Trevor Lewis' double-minor high sticking penalty early in the third in which the Oilers failed to get a shot on goal.
"It's huge," Sutter said. "It's like in (Minnesota), too, with the four minutes. What are you going to do? If they're leaking oil, they give them four minutes."
Edmonton has been impressive stretches playing out the string, including a 5-0-2 run earlier this month, and it was 5-0-2 in its previous seven road games. Dubynk gave it a good shot at a sweep of the Southern California teams with 35 saves, but the Oilers couldn't even get him a goal Monday night. Dubnyk has stopped 67 of his past 70 shots.
"Really solid – big and strong and in command of the net," Edmonton coach Tom Renney said. "We battled tonight for him, too. It's not an easy night for him by any stretch of the imagination. But if you look at our roster, we did everything we could to be responsible in our own end and work to get the job done and certainly we needed him to punctuate that effort by being great again, and he was."
The Oilers have recorded four, five and five shots on goal in the third periods of their past three games and have been outshot 37-19, 33-15, and 32-14 overall.
"They definitely kept us on the outside," Jordan Eberle said. "I don't think we got any chances inside, and (we got) hemmed in … you don't get any offensive chances and we're a team that has a lot of offensive power. It's tough. We knew that coming in. We played two pretty good periods as far as keeping the puck out of our of net, but at the end of the day, I think we just got a little too fancy."
Edmonton has gotten only three power plays in the past two games, but L.A. wasn't much more effective on the power play. Not only did the Kings fail to convert on their first three early man advantages, they registered just four shots.
The Kings also looked out of sorts for much of the second with several missed passes. Justin Williams and Mike Richards collided as they tried to avoid being offsides, and Kopitar slipped when he stole the puck and tried to break in on Dubynk.
L.A. had a goal waved off at 5:47 of the second because Dustin Penner's shot trickled across the goal line just after the net came off its moorings.
Edmonton was playing with a patchwork defense. Already without the top pairing of Ladislav Smid and Jeff Petry, the Oilers lost Corey Potter to a reported concussion from a hit Sunday by Anaheim Ducks winger Bobby Ryan.