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At the Rink: Kings at Oilers

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers look to equal a franchise high for consecutive home wins when they host the Los Angeles Kings (9 p.m. ET; FS-W, SNOL) at Rexall Place on Tuesday.

The Oilers (15-19-3) have won seven consecutive games at home dating back to a 5-1 win against the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 20.

They won eight straight on two occasions in franchise history: Jan. 19-Feb. 22, 1985 and Feb. 24-April 2, 1986.

The game against the Kings is the first of a six-game homestand for the Oilers.

"I think our record indicates [playing at home] makes a difference," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. "I wouldn't say that makes the wins more accessible at home or the losses greater on the road, but we've been able to have some success here. There is an energy in the building, there has been for a while now, that I think we can capture and it's our job as a team, as a group of players, to keep that energy up and keep our fans excited and believing. We'll try to do that on this homestand."

The Kings (22-11-2) won the first two games of the season series against the Oilers. Los Angeles defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-0 on Monday and did not take part in a morning skate Tuesday. The Kings won the first two games of a four-game road trip.

"Looking at the standings, if we want to stay in the playoff picture and get back into the thick of things, these are games we have to have," Oilers center Mark Letestu said. "Coming home, we've been playing pretty well, we're comfortable here, so I would expect a good effort. They played last night, so we're going to try and get on them early and wear them down as the game goes on."

Edmonton lost 2-1 in overtime at the Canucks on Saturday and 5-3 at the Calgary Flames on Sunday in their first two games after the Christmas break.

The Oilers have five wins on the road (5-14-2) compared to double the amount at home (10-5-1).

"There is obviously some comfort for some guys, the belief system is a lot stronger here than it is on the road and it's led to some better games and some wins," Letestu said. "We're more comfortable playing here and it's a good time to be back here so we can get the record going to the right direction."

Goaltender Cam Talbot will start for Edmonton. Talbot has started three of the past four games for the Oilers and relieved Anders Nilsson in the third period against Calgary.

Jhonas Enroth is expected to start in goal for Los Angeles in the second of back-to-back games. Jonathan Quick made 27 saves against Vancouver to earn his 40th-career shutout and tie the record for American-born goalies.

Here are the projected lineups:


Milan Lucic - Anze Kopitar - Tyler Toffoli

Tanner Pearson - Nick Shore - Marian Gaborik

Trevor Lewis - Andy Andreoff - Dustin Brown

Michael Mersch - Jordan Weal - Jordan Nolan

Brayden McNabb - Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin - Alec Martinez

Christian Ehrhoff - Jamie McBain

Jhonas Enroth

Jonathan Quick

Injured: Jeff Carter (upper body), Matt Greene (shoulder), Dwight King (foot), Kyle Clifford (upper body)

Scratched: None


Taylor HallLeon DraisaitlTeddy Purcell

Benoit PouliotRyan Nugent-HopkinsJordan Eberle

Matt HendricksMark LetestuLauri Korpikoski

Luke GazdicAnton LanderIiro Pakarinen

Andrej Sekera - Mark Fayne

Darnell NurseJustin Schultz

Brad HuntEric Gryba

Injured: Connor McDavid (collarbone), Rob Klinkhammer (ankle), Nail Yakupov (ankle), Brandon Davidson (ribs), Oscar Klefbom (finger), Andrew Ference (undisclosed).

Scratched: Jujhar Khaira, Nikita Nikitin

Status report: Hunt will make his season debut. He was called up from Bakersfield of the American Hockey League on Sunday, but flight delays prevented him getting to Calgary in time for the game against the Flames. … Klinkhammer took the optional skate Tuesday and is close to returning to the lineup. He re-injured his ankle in a 4-2 loss at the New York Rangers on Dec. 15. … Carter is day-to-day and not expected to play.

Who’s hot: Toffoli had a hat trick in the win against Vancouver. He has five goals and one assist in his past three games. … Pouliot scored two goals in the loss against Calgary. … Hall has five assists in his past four games. … Purcell has three goals and an assist in his past three games. … Doughty has a goal and two assists in his past two games.

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