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Playoff implications on the line for Kings in Edmonton

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings



KINGS (39-25-15) at OILERS (23-43-13)

6:30PM PT, TV: PRIME TICKET; RADIO: AM 790 KABC

OILER FINALE: Tonight marks the fifth and final meeting with the Oilers this season; the Kings have posted a 3-0-1 record against Edmonton, outscoring them 19-7. The Oilers are playing the second of their three-game home stand; they’re coming off of a 4-0 loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday night. The Kings are playing the second of their three-game road trip; they’re coming off of a 2-1 SO loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night.

THE SETTING: The Kings are in dire need of two points tonight, and the building they are playing in has granted them plenty of success in recent years. The Kings have not lost a game in regulation at Rexall Place since February 28, 2008. Since then, the Kings are 11-0-3 when playing the Oilers in their home building – a 14-game point streak. Can the Kings continue their winning ways at Rexall Place and grab another two points tonight?

LINEUP NOTES: Since the Kings are playing the second half of a back-to-back set tonight, no morning skate was held. Instead, the team met for a 12:00 meeting at their hotel. It is unclear whether or not there will be any changes to the Kings’ lineup – the groupings they skated with Monday night in Vancouver are listed below. No starting goaltender has been announced; but do not be surprised to see Martin Jones in net.

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

PLAYOFF PICTURE: The Kings come into the night with 93 points in the standings, which sits them just outside of a playoff spot. The Calgary Flames also have 93 points, and own the Pacific Division’s final playoff berth – but they own the tiebreaker. The Winnipeg Jets, with 94 points, sit in the Western Conference’s second and final wild-card spot. Can the Kings maintain their playoff push with a win tonight?

JONES?: With the Kings playing the second half of a back-to-back set, and with a pair of huge games coming up on Thursday against Calgary, and Saturday against San Jose, there is a chance that Martin Jones could make his first start tonight since February 27. Jones is 4-4-2 in 14 appearances this season, posting a .909 SV% and a 2.18 GAA.

SPOILERS: The Oilers come into the night 28th in the NHL standings, but still pose a big threat to the Kings, who are fighting for their playoff lives. Edmonton surely hasn’t forgotten the 8-2 loss the Kings handed them last week. “Well, like you said, [the Oilers] have nothing to lose and sometimes you almost play better like that,” Brayden McNabb told Jon Rosen on Tuesday, “You go out and play with confidence and knowing you don’t have anything to lose. But for us, we’ve got to be good and this is a big two points for us.”

THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Kings’ previous visit to Edmonton’s Rexall Place on March 3, they beat the Oilers 5-2. The Kings took control of the game early, building up a 3-0 lead by the opening minutes of the second period. Both Anze Kopitar (1G, 2A) and Trevor Lewis (1G, 2A) recorded three-point games. Jonathan Quick made 21 saves in the win.

SHORT WORK

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

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