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Jones stays perfect as Kings blank Oilers

by Curtis Zupke

LOS ANGELES -- Two weeks ago Martin Jones was biding his time behind then No.2 goalie Ben Scrivens. On Tuesday night, Jones accomplished something neither starter Jonathan Quick nor any other Los Angeles Kings goalie has managed: He became the first goalie in franchise history to start his career 6-0-0 after he made 24 saves in a 3-0 win against the Edmonton Oilers at Staples Center.

Jones has allowed five goals in six NHL games; he owns a goals-against average of 0.82 and a save percentage of .972. His third career shutout made Dwight King's first-period goal the game-winner as L.A. rebounded from a 3-1 road loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. Jordan Nolan scored off a dump-in while Edmonton was in a line change with 4:38 remaining, and Dustin Brown hit the empty net.

Jones, 23, was undrafted but has looked like he belongs at this level from the beginning. He's certainly maintained a Quick-like even-keel demeanor about his remarkable story, which includes eight years spent in juniors, the ECHL and American Hockey League.

"The last three or four years, being in the minors, you learn how to be a pro, and how to approach on and off the ice stuff, and the details that make you a good pro," Jones said. "I've put in the work in a last little bit, and it's nice to see some results here."

Asked his reaction if someone would have told him he'd have this start to his NHL career, Jones said, "I would have been excited, for sure. But again, it's a start and I want to make sure I keep building from this."

Jones made three outstanding saves in the second period to preserve a 1-0 lead. He made a right pad stop on Ryan Smyth, a left leg save on Ales Hemsky's wraparound attempt and a denial of Nail Yakupov on a backhand.

Jones also held off Taylor Hall on a third-period breakaway, although Hall didn't get all of a backhand try.

"It turns into math," Edmonton coach Dallas Eakins said. "The more chances you're getting, sooner or later they're going to go in. But that young man was good. Maybe we should have just ran him the first shift and got it over with."

Jones' saves were critical as L.A. looked tired in the second period of its third game in four nights. The Kings did little with two power plays in the second period, including one after Yakupov's holding the stick penalty in the offensive zone, and put four shots on goal in the final 10 minutes.

Edmonton was shut out for the second time in three games and could not take advantage of another solid start by Ilya Bryzgalov. The Oilers did not make a third-period push as they failed to put a shot on goal in the first 10 minutes and managed five in the final 20 minutes.

But the Oilers took solace on being one goal away for most of the game. They have lost four straight to some of the top teams in the League: the Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks, Anaheim Ducks and Kings. Hall's line was matched up against the King-Kopitar-Carter line and Hall had seven shots on goal.

"We definitely had some push-back against a bigger team," forward Jordan Eberle said. "We showed that we can play with these guys. It would have been nice to tie the game up and force them into overtime. We had two mistakes that ended up in the back of our net, but other than that we played a good game."

Los Angeles was coming off a rare bad-start game against Chicago in which it allowed three goals in the opening period. This time, the top line set a dominant tone at the start and produced the 1-0 lead on King's ninth goal.

King was left alone on the right side after Philip Larsen laid out to stop a pass and had extra time to slip the puck under Bryzgalov at 16:38 of the first period. Drew Doughty facilitated the sequence with some fine stickhandling to get the puck to King.

Eakins had said he didn't want his team to be "under siege again" as the Oilers were in the Oct. 27 game between the teams, but that's exactly what happened in the first period as L.A. spent most of the time in Edmonton's zone. Bryzgalov helped minimize the damage with 12 saves.

"We needed to score a goal," Eakins said. "It would have changed things greatly."

Eakins said the dump-in on L.A.'s second goal deflected off a shaft and took an odd bounce but acknowledged that "we shouldn't be changing there. Both our d-men have got to stay. Our one d-man changed, and that puck hit the ice like a balata [golf] ball hitting a wet green. It was a gift for their guy."

Bryzgalov also stopped Carter on a breakaway with a poke check early in the third.

The Kings have not allowed a first-period goal in 19 of the past 20 games.

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