OILERS (24-41-13) at KINGS (37-25-14)
7:30PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 790 KABC
BACK HOME: Tonight marks the fourth of five meetings with the Oilers this season; the Kings have posted a 2-0-1 record against Edmonton so far. The Oilers have won four of their previous six games; they’re finishing a three-game road trip tonight, and are coming off of a 5-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday evening. The Kings are starting a two-game home stand tonight; they’re coming off of a 4-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night.
LINEUP NOTES: Jarret Stoll is expected to return to the Kings’ lineup after missing nine games while recovering from concussion-like symptoms. Stoll is expected to fill Mike Richards’ role – who is expected to be a healthy scratch tonight along with Andy Andreoff and Jamie McBain. Andrej Sekera remains out of the Kings’ lineup indefinitely; Brayden McNabb will take his place after sitting out the last five games. Tanner Pearson remains out indefinitely as well. Jonathan Quick is expected to start.
GABORIK – KOPITAR – WILLIAMS
KING – CARTER – TOFFOLI
BROWN – STOLL – LEWIS
CLIFFORD – SHORE – NOLAN
(PEARSON – RICHARDS – ANDREOFF)
MUZZIN – DOUGHTY
REGEHR – MARTINEZ
MCNABB – GREENE
SEKERA DOWN: Defenseman Andrej Sekera left Monday night’s game early in Chicago when he injured his leg late in the second period of the Kings’ 4-1 loss to the Blackhawks. Sekera did not skate in the team’s practice on Wednesday, or the morning skate on Thursday. Sekera, after being acquired on February 25th for prospect Roland McKeown and a conditional first round draft pick, registered one goal, three assists, and a plus-five rating in 16 games with the Kings.
PEARSON EXTENDED: Forward Tanner Pearson signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract extension Thursday morning. Pearson would have been able to qualify for unrestricted free agency on July 1. Pearson, who joined the Kings’ on their road trip and practiced regularly with the club, has had a setback in his recovery, and is not expected to return prior to the regular season’s end. “You’re going to treat him like you’re son, and you’re going to treat him like an athlete,” Darryl Sutter said of Pearson on Tuesday. “Which means that you need him for a long, long time, not for three or four days.”
PLAYOFF PICTURE: The Kings come into the night with 88 points in the standings, situating them just outside of the Western Conference’s playoff picture. They’re three points behind the Calgary Flames, who own the Pacific Division’s final playoff spot, and two points behind the Winnipeg Jets, who sit in the second and final wild-card spot. Can the Kings maintain pace in the playoff race with a win against the Oilers tonight?
SPOILER OILERS: The Oilers come into the night 28th in the NHL with a lowly 59 points, but are not to be taken lightly – especially by teams who are fighting for a playoff spot. Edmonton has only one regulation loss in their last seven games, going on a 5-1-1 run in that span. During their recent hot streak, the Oilers have laid crushing blows to Colorado and Dallas’ playoff hopes – beating the Avalanche twice, and the Stars once. Can the Kings keep the Oilers away from playing the ‘spoiler’ role tonight?
THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Oilers’ previous visit to STAPLES Center on October 14, the Kings beat Edmonton 6-1. The Kings scored three goals in the first period, and three goals in the second period to take a commanding 6-0 lead. Edmonton’s Matt Hendricks ruined Jonathan Quick’s shutout bid, putting the Oilers on the board with 21 seconds left to play in regulation. Quick made 31 saves in the win.
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the KINGS LIVE pregame show at 7:00PM PT on FOX SPORTS WEST, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from STAPLES Center for puck drop just after 7:30.