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Kings complete season sweep of Oilers

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON -- The Los Angeles Kings wrapped up a flawless season against the Edmonton Oilers with a picture-perfect road game at Rexall Place.

Marian Gaborik scored two goals in a 3-0 win Thursday night, giving the Kings a sweep of the four-game season series. Kings center Anze Kopitar scored his 200th NHL goal and rookie goaltender Martin Jones made 17 saves to earn his fourth shutout of the season.

"We wanted to have a good start, and obviously, scoring in the first minute helps," Kopitar said. "After that, we were pressing pretty hard and had some pretty good offensive-zone time and brought the game home pretty well, with no stress in the end and that's what you want."

Los Angeles outshot the Oilers 23-3 in the third period and stretched their winning streak against Edmonton to six games.

The Kings, who lost 4-3 in a shootout to the Calgary Flames on Wednesday, were not assessed a penalty for the second straight game. They conclude their regular season Saturday night against the Anaheim Ducks and will play the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Viktor Fasth stopped 45 shots for the Oilers, who were shut out for the 10th time this season. Seven of those have been at home.

Kopitar scored 27 seconds into the game on the Kings' first shot. He took a feed from Justin Williams in front and lifted the puck over Fasth.

Gaborik extended the Kings' lead at 9:00 of the first period, getting an opportune bounce in the slot and firing the puck past Fasth. L.A. defenseman Willie Mitchell fanned on a point shot that bounced to Gaborik, who was unattended in front.

"After coming off a bad start [Wednesday] night, we talked about having to be ready to play from the start and we did," Gaborik said. "We got up 1-0 quickly and that for sure helped us. I thought we controlled the game all 60 minutes. We played a good game and we got a good road win."

Gaborik added his second of the game at 13:55 of the second period, beating Fasth with a quick wrist shot that seemed to catch the goaltender off-guard. Gaborik went in 1-on-2 but was able to get his shot through defenseman Justin Schultz.

"They outbattled us all over the ice, from their first line to their fourth line," Oilers forward David Perron said. "We were turning pucks over and we did get it behind their defense, but they were getting the puck first.

"It is a bit of a wakeup call. Everyone was happy with the way we had been playing over the last few games and it is a reminder that there is a lot of work to be done and that we all have to put a lot of work in over the summer to get ready individually."

The Kings dominated all four games against the Oilers this season, recording at least 40 shots in each game.

Once L.A. grabbed a quick lead Thursday, Edmonton seemed to lack the energy to mount a comeback.

"I've been in that position my first couple of years in L.A.," Kopitar said. "We were pretty much in the same spot, and if a team in a playoff spot gets a couple on you pretty quick, you're in a tough spot. Right now, we just want to sharpen our game for pretty much a week from now, so we're ready to go in the playoffs."

Gaborik appeared to have scored his third goal of the game during a third-period power play when he fired a rebound past Fasth. However, the goal was waived off because Williams was ruled to have interfered with Fasth on the play.

That was about the only disappointment for the Kings on a night when they looked like a team that could make a long playoff run.

"You can't give a Stanley Cup contender a lead that early," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "Our top line was on the ice and it was a really easy assignment there and it was in our net. That can't happen.

"It's hard to play against a team like that. It was a clinic by a team that I think will contend for a Stanley Cup. That is just an excellent team that plays a simple game. There is one way to play the game and the way that L.A. plays it, is the way to do it."

The Oilers, who end their season at home against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, have dropped two in a row.

"[Thursday] was a really disappointing effort on all fronts except for goaltending," forward Taylor Hall said. "By no means is a good effort in our last game [Saturday] going to make up for the 82 games that we have played, but it would certainly be better than going out on a bad note. If we had to leave the season after a game like [Thursday], that would leave a bit of a sting."

The game against the Canucks may be the last in the career of Oilers' forward Ryan Smyth; TSN reported Thursday that Smyth is expected to announce his retirement Friday after 20 seasons in the League.

Eakins wouldn't confirm or deny anything about Smyth's future.

"I think Ryan Smyth, with his stature and where he is at in his career, has earned the right to let us know if he is going to play next year or not," Eakins said. "It is not for me to let you guys know what I know. I have way too much respect for that young man to share anything."

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