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Kings break out offensively, rout Oilers

by Curtis Zupke /

LOS ANGELES -- Everything fell into place for the Los Angeles Kings to take hold of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference on Thursday.

Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty and Jordan Nolan ended goal-scoring droughts of at least 19 games in a 8-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers at Staples Center.

Kings coach Darryl Sutter has implored his top players to produce, and he was happy to see it happen.

"We need them to do it every game," Sutter said. "[Brown's] our captain and Drew's obviously one of the top players in the League. When you go double digits or twenty-something games without a goal, I'm sure it wears on those guys because they're used to being successful."

The Kings (38-25-14) tied the Winnipeg Jets with 90 points and own the first tiebreaker with more regulation/overtime wins. Los Angeles also got help in the Western standings because three teams ahead of them, the Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks and Minnesota Wild, all lost.

"I think everybody looks up and sees what's going on," forward Marian Gaborik said of the scoreboard. "We cannot control what's going on. Obviously we got a little bit of help tonight, but we can only control what we do, and that's how we're looking at it. We're going to win every game, and believe we can do that."

The Oilers (23-42-13) went 0-2-0 on their Southern California trip and were outscored 13-3 on consecutive nights against the Kings and Anaheim Ducks after a three-game winning streak.

"I have no words to describe it," forward Jordan Eberle said. "It's just embarrassing.

"We are professional hockey players, so when you go out and give that effort, it's embarrassing. They treated us like a junior hockey team, but because you're a professional hockey player you have to be able to play through whatever it is or else there will be guys who will take your spot."

Brown ended a 19-game scoring drought and Doughty a 24-game drought in a first-period blitz for the Kings, whose three goals in the first 9:13 of the game equaled their total from their previous four home games. Doughty capped the outburst with a wrist shot through traffic for his first goal since Feb. 7. It gave the Kings three goals on six shots.

"We have a lot of guys in here that thrive under pressure situations," Doughty said. "We have a lot of heart, and we believe in every single player in this room to get the job done, and we have a lot of work left to do. So it's only one game, and we can't get ahead of ourselves."

Brown threaded a wrist shot from a steep angle on the left side 2:23 into the game for his first goal since Feb. 18. Gaborik scored off Anze Kopitar's saucer pass on a 3-on-3 rush at 7:07.

Nolan ended a 20-game scoring drought when he drove to the net and stuffed the puck past Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens to give the Kings a 4-1 lead at 12:14 of the second.

Jeff Carter scored his team-leading 27th and 28th goals, on the power play at 18:38 of the second and on a breakaway at 9:21 of the third, and the Kings got their first eight-goal game since April 1, 2010. Fifteen players made the scoresheet for Los Angeles.

Edmonton goalie Tyler Bunz made his NHL debut when he was inserted for the third period and allowed two goals on his first four shots, which prompted Oilers coach Todd Nelson to call timeout while Scrivens gave Bunz a pep talk.

Bunz, 23, has played mostly in the ECHL. He said it was a good experience to play on an NHL stage but said, "you never like losing like that, and you never want to have a debut like that."

Said Nelson, "First and foremost, the goaltending has to be better. I think we all know that. Going into the third, we put Tyler in there. It was a tough spot for him. We gave him an opportunity. It was probably nerves but we got through the game. But it has to be better in order for us to win hockey games, and the goalies know that, so we just want to forget about this one and get ready for some games at home."

The Kings felt bad for Bunz, who is from Sutter's home province of Alberta.

"That's not an easy situation to go into," Sutter said. "He's a pro and he will learn from that and be better for it. He's a good westerner. A western Canadian."

Kings center Jarret Stoll returned after a nine-game absence because of a head injury.

The Oilers have lost their past six games at Staples Center and been outscored 25-5 during that streak.

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