LOS ANGELES – It was rather easy work for the points-hungry Kings Thursday night as they cruised to an 8-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers at STAPLES Center.
Adding to the satisfaction of their commanding victory, was the fact that the Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets, and Vancouver Canucks – the clubs in which the Kings are chasing in the standings, all lost in contests played earlier in the evening.
With the two points earned, and a little bit of help from outside contests, the Kings slipped back into the Western Conference’s second and final wild-card spot with 90 points.
The Oilers, who came into the night at 28th-place in the league, posed a threat regardless of their lowly record. Edmonton laid devastating blows to the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche’s playoff hopes last week, successfully playing the ‘spoiler’ role.
The Kings, however, didn’t give the Oilers much of a chance.
“This was an important game, coming back after a long road trip, playing at home,” Marian Gaborik expressed after the win. “We were talking about how we needed a good first period, we did it and it just carried over.”
Facing former teammate Ben Scrivens, the Kings poured on three goals in the first period and never looked back. Dustin Brown opened the scoring just over two minutes into the game, registering his first marker in 20 games. Marian Gaborik gave the Kings a 2-0 lead, and Drew Doughty buried the Kings’ third goal of the opening frame, his first goal in 25 games.
Former King Teddy Purcell got the Oilers on the board with a power play goal midway through the second, but the Kings responded immediately with two more goals to carry a 5-1 lead into the second intermission.
Edmonton pulled Ben Scrivens after two periods in favor of Tyler Bunz, who was making his NHL debut.
The Kings gave the Oilers’ rookie goaltender a rude welcome to the league, scoring on two of their first three shots taken in the third, ultimately putting three goals past Edmonton’s netminder to up their goal-total to eight.
Robyn Regehr gave the Kings a 6-1 lead, scoring off of a deflected slapshot from the point. 22 seconds later, Marian Gaborik buried his second goal of the evening, upping the Kings’ lead to 7-1. Jeff Carter provided the final goal for the Kings, also his second of the night, to give the Kings an 8-1 lead.
Jordan Eberle struck for the Oilers with 1:30 to play in regulation; it would be the final goal scored in what ultimately ended up as an 8-2 Kings win.
“I think we did a better job at capitalizing on our chances, we played a decent game,” Drew Doughty said. “We kind of slipped into their game a little bit in the third period, but that kind of happens when the score separates like that. It was a good game, a big win, and we need to win the next one.”
Marian Gaborik (2G, 1A) led all Kings players in points scored (3), Jeff Carter in shots taken (6), Trevor Lewis in hits delivered (7), Matt Greene and Alec Martinez in shots blocked (2), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (24:18). Jonathan Quick made 28 saves in the win.
With the win, the Kings’ record improves to 38-25-14; their mark on home ice at STAPLES Center jumps to 23-9-7. The Kings will finish their two-game home stand Saturday night when they host the Colorado Avalanche; the puck is slated to drop just after 7:00PM PT.