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At the Rink: Kings at Oilers

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON -- The Los Angeles Kings play the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place on Sunday (9:30 p.m. ET; SN, SN360, SN1, FS-W) looking to extend a four-game winning streak.

Los Angeles lost their first three games of the season but were able to turn things around, in large part because of the play of center Tyler Toffoli, who has six goals in seven games.

"I think we're finding our way here," Toffoli said. "Obviously we had a tough start. But we're finding our game and we have to keep going."

The Kings (4-3-0) won three of five games against the Oilers (3-5-0) last season and have won eight of the past 10 against them.

Los Angeles scored 11 goals in their four wins after scoring two goals in their first three losses.

"We've made progress," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "Other than our first game we've headed in the right direction and played the game the way we need to play. We're a different type team than we've had in terms of experience in the back end."

Edmonton will try to bounce back after a 7-4 loss to the Washington Capitals on Friday, which ended their three-game winning streak. Edmonton started the season with four consecutive losses.

"Last game we had a few guys and made a few plays that were out of character from our previous three games [win streak] and we need to get that back," Oilers left wing Taylor Hall said. "This is a team [Kings] that had a slow start but are finding themselves and we know how they play, we know how good they can be. They're a big-bodied team that we're going to have to go up against."

In order to have success in the Pacific Division, the Oilers feel they need to find a way to defeat big, strong teams like the Kings.

Edmonton defeated Los Angeles last season on April 7, helping eliminate them from Stanley Cup Playoff contention.

"Last year we started to have some success against them," Hall said. "We won that game at the end of the year that kind of knocked them out of the playoffs and that was a good feeling. I feel like against L.A. last year we took a step and we learned that if we just play a simple game for 60 minutes and we get some good goaltending, we're going to be in that game."

The Kings present a different challenge to the Oilers than the high-powered Capitals did Friday. The Kings are a strong defensive team with an elite goalie in Jonathan Quick.

"The Washington game didn't go the way we'd hoped. We were on a bit of a run there and it was disappointing the way that game went," Oilers center Connor McDavid said. "This is a good chance to redeem ourselves against a really good team. I think [the Kings] are one of the most successful organizations in recent years so it's definitely a good challenge for us."

Here are the projected lineups:


Marian Gaborik - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown

Milan Lucic - Jeff Carter - Tyler Toffoli

Tanner Pearson - Nick Shore - Trevor Lewis

Kyle Clifford - Andy Andreoff - Jordan Nolan

Brayden McNabb - Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin - Alec Martinez

Jamie McBain - Christian Ehrhoff

Jonathan Quick

Jhonas Enroth

Injured: Dwight King (foot), Matt Greene (upper body).

Scratched: Derek Forbort, Jordan Weal.


Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Rob Klinkhammer

Benoit Pouliot - Connor McDavid - Nail Yakupov

Lauri Korpikoski - Anton Lander - Teddy Purcell

Luke Gazdic - Mark Letestu - Iiro Pakarinen

Andrej Sekera - Mark Fayne

Justin Schultz - Oscar Klefbom

Brandon Davidson - Eric Gryba

Injured: Jordan Eberle (shoulder), Matt Hendricks (foot), Griffin Reinhart (undisclosed).

Scratched: Anton Slepyshev, Andrew Ference

Status report: Davidson will play in place of Ference. Davidson has been a healthy scratch in seven of the Oilers' first eight games. … Pakarinen will make his season debut, replacing Slepyshev. Pakarinen was called up from Bakersfield of the American Hockey League on Thursday.

Who's hot: Toffoli has six of the 13 goals the Kings have scored this season. He has at least one goal in his past four games. … McDavid is on a four-game point streak. He leads the Oilers with five goals and eight points.

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