LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Luc Robitaille received a videotaped congratulatory
message from Johnny Bucyk moments after breaking his record for career points
by a left wing.
After the game, Robitaille needed a few words of consolation.
Ryan Smyth scored on a deflection with 6:22 left in the third period and
Fernando Pisani also scored Monday night as the Edmonton Oilers extended their
winning streak to a season-high five games with a 2-1 victory that put a severe
dent in the Los Angeles Kings' playoff hopes.
Bucyk, a Hall of Famer who spent his 23-year career with Boston and Detroit,
was obliterated from the record books when Robitaille set up the tying goal by
Jozef Stumpel on a power play with 11:09 left in the third period for his
1,370th career point.
``It's certainly something I'll cherish one day,'' Robitaille said. ``But
it's just hard now, when we're battling so hard to make the playoffs. It's
never much fun to set a record when you lose.''
The instant euphoria the sellout crowd of 18,118 got from Robitaille's
milestone _ and the tying goal _ didn't last long, however.
Smyth carried the puck into the Kings' zone and made a cross-ice pass that
Marc-Andre Bergeron played off the left boards. His one-timer changed direction
off Smyth's stick and beat Cristobal Huet through the legs.
``He took the shot and it looked like it was going wide. I was fortunate to
get my stick on it,'' said Smyth, who leads Edmonton with 21 goals.
Fernando Pisani also scored for the surprising Oilers, who jumped from ninth
place in the Western Conference playoff race into a tie for seventh with
Nashville. Two months ago, Edmonton was 12th in the conference, 10 points out
of a playoff spot with 20 games remaining.
``We've played extremely hard to put ourselves in this position,'' Smyth
said. ``This was a playoff atmosphere, but it's been that way for the past
month. Those were two desperate teams fighting for those last two playoff
spots. We jumped into seventh for the time being, but by no means is it over
The Kings are 10th in the West, two points behind idle St. Louis for the
eighth and final spot and three behind Edmonton and Nashville. They begin a
four-game road trip Wednesday night at Vancouver, after losing four straight
games on the same homestand for the first time since March 1996.
``We've still got seven games left. And if we keep doing the things we're
doing, we'll turn it around,'' Robitaille said. ``We're playing better than
ever, but we just can't get any breaks. Our coaches keep stats, and they tell
us we're getting a lot of scoring chances. So it's going to be an interesting
trip for us. We know it's do or die.''
On the tying goal, Robitaille had the puck in the right corner and passed it
into the slot, where Stumpel beat Ty Conklin with a one-timer from 35 feet for
his eighth goal.
Robitaille already holds the record for goals by a left wing with 653, and
most points in one season at that position with 125 in 1992-93 _ the only
season the Kings made it to the Stanley Cup finals. His 244 power-play goals
are fourth on the career list behind Dave Andreychuk, Brett Hull and Phil
Robitaille is in his third stint with the Kings, who picked him 171st
overall in the 1984 draft. The eight-time All-Star, who turned 38 last month,
returned to the club in July after two seasons in Detroit.
Conklin made 25 saves for the Oilers and got a huge assist from teammate
Ethan Moreau, who blocked two shots in front of a wide-open net in the second
period after Eric Belanger drew Conklin out of his crease.
The Oilers, held to just two shots on net over the first 17 minutes,
capitalized on a clumsy turnover by the Kings as Pisani scored his 12th goal at
17:07 of the opening period.
Aaron Miller chased after a loose puck behind the net with Edmonton's Raffi
Torres, and both fell down as Kings rookie Esa Pirnes took possession. But
Pirnes tripped over Miller's stick and coughed up the puck to Pisani, whose
attempted centering pass to Adam Oates from the left circle caromed into the
net off Los Angeles defenseman Nathan Dempsey.