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Kings can't afford to let Oilers play 'spoilers'

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings



KINGS (29-21-12) at OILERS (18-35-10)

6:30PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 790 KABC

OIL COUNTRY: Tonight marks the third of five meetings with the Oilers this season, and the second of three visits to Edmonton’s Rexall Place. The Kings are 1-0-1 against Edmonton this season, having won 6-1 in Los Angeles on October 14 and having lost 3-2 in a shootout in Alberta on December 30. The Oilers are finishing a quick two-game home stand tonight; they’re coming off of a 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night. The Kings are finishing a three-game road trip tonight; they’re coming off of a 5-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday afternoon.

LINEUP NOTES: Jonathan Quick left the ice first at today’s morning skate at Rexall Place; he’s expected to get the start. Andy Andreoff and Jamie McBain remained on the ice for extra work; they are expected to be healthy scratches.

GABORIK – KOPITAR – LEWIS
KING – CARTER – TOFFOLI
BROWN – STOLL – WILLIAMS
CLIFFORD – SHORE – NOLAN
(ANDREOFF)
-----------------------
REGEHR – DOUGHTY
MCNABB – SEKERA
MUZZIN – GREENE
(MCBAIN)

SPOILER ALERT: The Oilers come into the night 29th overall in the NHL standings, virtually eliminated from postseason contention, so they will have a chance to disrupt the Kings’ push for the playoffs tonight. The Kings are currently tied at 70 points with the Calgary Flames for the third and final playoff spot in the Pacific Division. The Kings are three points behind the Minnesota Wild for the Western Conference’s second and final wild-card spot. Can the Kings pick up a crucial two points and not allow the Oilers to play the spoiler role?

INTACT: The trade-deadline passed on Monday afternoon with the Kings staying pat, not pulling the trigger on any other moves following the Andrej Sekera trade last Wednesday. “You never want to see anyone go,” Drew Doughty told Jon Rosen on Monday. “You make such good relationships with so many guys on your team. We don’t want to see anyone leave, ever. Even though that’s the business and it happens, we have to go with it, but I know we’re all happy in here that nothing has changed.” Can the Kings’ tight-knit locker room work together for a big two points in Edmonton tonight?

AN OLD FRIEND: Ben Scrivens is expected to get the start for the Oilers tonight; it will be his 40th start of the season. Scrivens has posted a 12-20-7 record with a .898 SV% and a 2.92 GAA this season; he surrendered two goals on 27 shots in a 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night. In two starts against the Kings since he was dealt to the Oilers on January 15 of last season, Scrivens is 1-1-0. Scrivens made 39 saves and stopped all four Kings shootout attempts in Edmonton’s 3-2 shootout win on December 30.

THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Kings’ previous visit to Edmonton’s Rexall Place on December 30 earlier this season, they fell to the Oilers 3-2 in a shootout. The Kings overcame a late-game two-goal deficit with a pair of goals in the third period from Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin – who tied the game with 2:24 left to play. The ensuing shootout went four rounds – David Perron scored the game-clinching goal. Jonathan Quick made 19 saves in the loss.

ALBERTA MUZZ

WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the KINGS LIVE pregame show at 6:00PM PT on FOX SPORTS WEST, followed with Bob and Jim live on the play-by-play call from Rexall Place for puck drop just after 6:30.

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