Kings score twice in third period to defeat Oilers
Rally gives Los Angeles four-point lead on Anaheim in Pacificby Curtis Zupke / NHL.com Correspondent
LOS ANGELES - Low-scoring games have been the norm for the Los Angeles Kings since forward Marian Gaborik went down with an injury, but now they're trending in the win column.
Dwight King scored with 5:50 remaining in the third period to give the Kings a 2-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers at Staples Center on Thursday.
King tipped Jeff Carter's shot from the left point and the puck caught the far side past Edmonton goalie Cam Talbot. Carter scored in the earlier in the third and Jonathan Quick made 26 saves for the Kings (36-20-4), who moved four points ahead of the Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific Division.
Video: EDM@LAK: Carter jams in tip-in to even the score
It was the Kings' third straight win, each by a 2-1 score. They have eight goals in six games since Gaborik sustained a long-term knee injury Feb. 12.
"It's nothing new for us, really," Carter said. "That's Kings hockey. Obviously we'd like to make it a little easier on ourselves, but maybe it's a good reminder for us of how hard it is and how hard it's going to be here."
The Oilers (22-34-6) have lost a season-high six consecutive games. Edmonton coach Todd McLellan didn't like the outcome but was happy with the response after he heavily criticized his players following a home loss to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.
"I think there was a game within a game tonight, and that was our ability to come out and re-group after our poor effort against Ottawa and compete hard," McLellan said. "I think for the most part, our group did that tonight. For about 2 ½ periods, it was our best game in a long time."
Edmonton led 1-0 until Carter tapped in a loose puck that slipped under Talbot after Tyler Toffoli's backhand attempt at 5:27 of the third period.
Carter had one goal in his previous 16 games.
"That's life," Carter said. "That's hockey. Never too high. Never too low. I feel like I've been getting chances. They're starting to go in."
Edmonton started the third with momentum carried from Zack Kassian's goal at 18:55 of the second period. Kassian faked a shot, moved in and snapped the puck past a kneeling defenseman Luke Schenn and Quick. Milan Lucic committed a turnover in the neutral zone to create the possession for Edmonton.
Video: EDM@LAK: Hall feeds Kassian to break the tie in 2nd
Despite the loss, Kassian took positives from the game.
"Tonight we really gained a lot of confidence, especially against a good team like that," Kassian said. "We played the right way and I think people started to see that if we play the right way, we can play anyone."
Quick kept the Kings in the game early with notable point blank second-period saves on Connor McDavid, on a backhand attempt and another while seated. Quick won his 31st game and has a goals-against average of 0.99 and a .964 save percentage during the three-game win streak.
Edmonton outshot Los Angeles 7-0 to start the game but was outshot 11-4 in the final 12 minutes of the first period.
"We weren't very good in the first [period]," Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin said. "We got it going in the second and we just had to connect the defense with the forwards … these are games that you want to win now, so when it comes to playoff time you know how to do it. It's crucial for us to continue winning these."
The Oilers, who play at Anaheim on Friday, scratched right wing Teddy Purcell and defenseman Justin Schultz.
McLellan said the scratches were "later afternoon decisions."
"What's gone on and transpired since that point till now, I'm not aware," McLellan said. "But if they're available to us and they're ready to play, then we'll considering using them to play [in Anaheim]."
The Kings host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.