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game recap

Oilers clinch playoff berth for first time since 2006

Defeat Kings to end 10-season drought

by Derek Van Diest / NHL.com Correspondent

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in 11 years with a 2-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings at Rogers Place on Tuesday.

Connor McDavid and Eric Gryba scored, and Cam Talbot made 34 saves for the Oilers (42-25-9), who last qualified for the playoffs in 2006, when they lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup Final.

"It's definitely special, you saw the excitement in the building," McDavid said. "The fans are excited, we're excited. There is a lot of work left to be done still."

 

WATCH: All Kings vs. Oilers highlights

 

Jarome Iginla scored for the Kings (35-33-7), who are 11 points behind the St. Louis Blues for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference with seven games to play. Jonathan Quick made 27 saves.

"We don't want to be in this position," Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty said. "You can point your fingers at a bunch of games throughout the season that put us in this predicament. It [stinks], but we're still playing for this organization and for each other and we have to play as hard as we possibly can and do whatever it takes to win games even though we might be out of the race."

McDavid scored at 14:44 of the first period to give Edmonton a 1-0 lead. His pass for Patrick Maroon on a 2-on-1 rush hit Kings defenseman Derek Forbort and bounced in past Quick.

The Oilers had an apparent goal by defenseman Oscar Klefbom waved off 49 seconds into the game after Kings coach Darryl Sutter challenged for goaltender interference. Klefbom converted a centering pass from McDavid, but video review showed Maroon, standing in the crease, interfered with Quick.

Video: LAK@EDM: Talbot makes two key late saves on Martinez

Iginla tied the game 1-1 with 2:49 left in the first, gathering a loose puck in front of the net and shooting it over Talbot's shoulder.

Gryba gave Edmonton a 2-1 lead when he scored at 7:03 of the second period.

"It's a special feeling tonight, especially seeing how passionate the crowd was and how excited they were," said center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who was selected by the Oilers with the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NHL Draft. "Not too many of us in here have been through (missing the playoffs) for that long. We've had some tough years, but it's all worth it right now."

Zack Kassian appeared to give the Oilers a 3-1 lead at 2:08 of the third period, shooting the puck past Quick on a setup by David Desharnais, but play was stopped for a roughing penalty on Kings defenseman Brayden McNabb when defense partner Paul LaDue touched the puck.

Talbot made six saves in the final two minutes, including against defenseman Alec Martinez with 14 seconds left, about five seconds after Gryba blocked a Martinez shot off a scramble in front.

"We can't wait until the final five, 10 minutes to try and win a hockey game," Kings forward Tanner Pearson said. "You have to put the full 60 minutes in. Maybe if we played like we did the last 10 minutes, we'd have given ourselves a good chance to win the hockey game."

Video: LAK@EDM: Iginla goes top shelf off turnover

 

Goal of the game

Gryba's wrist shot from above the left faceoff circle hit a stick on the way to the net, changed direction, and got past Quick for his second goal of the season.

Video: LAK@EDM: Gryba beats Quick with bouncing shot

 
Save of the game

Talbot made a left-pad save on Jonny Brodzinski with 45 seconds left in the game.

 

Unsung performance of the game

Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson had a game-high six hits and three blocked shots in 22:48.

 

Highlight of the game

McDavid scored off a fortuitous bounce to get the Oilers on the board.

Video: LAK@EDM: McDavid tallies off deflected pass attempt

 
They said it

"We caught a break early in the third when the whistle went. We were hoping there was a little bit of hockey luck there, but we couldn't score." -- Kings coach Darryl Sutter on a penalty being called before an apparent Oilers goal

 

"It's kind of bittersweet that it's taken this long, but it's exciting, it's what you play hockey for. I think more than anything, it's for the crowd, keeping them in it and them sticking behind us." -- Oilers forward Jordan Eberle on making the playoffs

 

"We're extremely excited and happy for that group. There's a couple that have been here through a lot of pain. Now, we're excited for the opportunity that lies ahead." -- Oilers coach Todd McLellan

 

Need to know

It was Eberle's 501st regular-season game for Edmonton. Selected by the Oilers in the first round (No. 22) of the 2008 draft, he is the longest-serving player on the roster and has never played an NHL playoff game … The Oilers have won six straight games at home. … Los Angeles has scored one goal or been shut out 25 times this season.

 
What's next

Kings: At the Calgary Flames on Wednesday (9 p.m. ET; SN, FS-W, NHL.TV)

Oilers: Host the San Jose Sharks on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; SNW, CSN-CA, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Oilers beat Kings, 2-1, to clinch playoff spot

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