LOS ANGELES – You could call this one a confidence booster.
Although the Kings were missing three key names in their lineup, they put on their most dominant showing of the young season thus far, trumping the Edmonton Oilers 6-1 Tuesday night at STAPLES Center.
Edmonton also came in with an ailing roster, but with one that in recent years has struggled against the Kings even when healthy.
You could say the Kings sensed weakness, and went in undeterred.
The first ten minutes saw the Kings post a three-goal lead, control about just every aspect of the game, and put the Oilers well back on their heels with a drive that set a vicious tone from the get-go.
Jeff Carter led off the Kings’ scoring, hammering home a pass from Tanner Pearson past Viktor Fasth to give the Kings a 1-0 lead just over three minutes into play. Just over a minute after Carter’s opening tally, Justin Williams tacked on another, whipping a wrist-shot on a two-on-one rush past Fasth to give the Kings a 2-0 lead not even five minutes into the game.
The Oilers had an early chance to recover, settle things down, and chip away at the Kings’ early lead before things got out of hand. Granted a power play midway through the first after Tanner Pearson was called for a hooking infraction, the Kings completely flipped the switch on Edmonton’s opportunity.
The dagger, you could say, was Tyler Toffoli’s gorgeous shorthanded goal. Toffoli, with some nice stick work, evaded Edmonton defenders as he entered their zone, created space for himself, and fired a snap shot up to the top left corner and past Viktor Fasth.
Toffoli’s goal gave the Kings a 3-0 lead less than ten minutes into the game, putting the Oilers in a position where there was just about no chance for return.
Fasth left the game shortly thereafter with a groin injury, and former King Ben Scrivens filled his role. The scoring continued, however.
Dustin Brown notched his first goal of the season, giving the Kings a 4-0 lead early in the second period, chipping home a Dwight King pass out of mid-air from point-blank range and past Scrivens.
Tanner Pearson chimed in to finish the deal. Pearson registered his second and third goals of the year, upping the Kings’ lead to 6-0 in the third.
Pearson’s line of Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli combined for an astounding seven points (4G, 3A) on the night. Since the Kings were shutout in their season opener against the San Jose Sharks, the line has combined for 16 points (9G, 7A) with a plus-22 rating.
Jonathan Quick was seconds away from earning his 32nd career shutout, but allowed a squeaker off the stick of Matt Hendricks to find the back of the net with :21.2 seconds left on the clock.
With the win, Head Coach Darryl Sutter won his 100th game as a King. Sutter has racked up a 100-58-25 record at the helm of the Kings’ bench, and is the fastest coach in franchise history to reach that milestone. Sutter hit the century mark in his 183rd game, and the second fastest, Terry Murray, did so in his 197th game as the Kings’ coach. Ironically, Murray’s 100th win also came at home against the Oilers, on December 23, 2010.
Dean Lombardi also cashed in on a milestone tonight, winning his 300th game as the Kings’ General Manager. Lombardi, hired on April 21, 2006 to structure this franchise, is the only General Manager to have ever reached the 300-win mark.
The Kings are now 7-0-1 against the Oilers at STAPLES Center dating back to December, 2010. Edmonton will make their second and final regular season visit to Los Angeles on April 2.
Two straight wins have given the Kings a 2-1-1 record through four games. The season’s second-longest home stand continues Thursday night when the St. Louis Blues pay a visit to STAPLES Center.