The Edmonton Oilers have enjoyed a significant advantage at home in February. They'll be hoping for similar success against the Los Angeles Kings, who have struggled as visitors.
The Oilers look to extend their season-high, five-game winning streak at Rexall Place as they continue their five-game homestand against the Kings on Thursday night in their final meeting.
Edmonton (29-30-5) lost its first home game of the month, but has since won five straight games at Rexall Place - its longest streak there since taking six in a row from Oct. 5-Oct. 28, 2006. The Oilers won the first two games on this homestand to improve to 17-14-1 as hosts.
|The Oilers have won five straight games at Rexall Place and seek to build on that success as they continue their five-game homestand versus the Los Angeles Kings tonight. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jimmy Jeong)
The most recent victory in Edmonton came Tuesday, when the Oilers beat league-leading Detroit 4-3 for their NHL single season-record 13th shootout win. Robert Nilsson scored the lone goal in the extra period, helping Edmonton improve to 13-3 in shootouts.
The mark surpassed the record previously held by Dallas, which went 12-1 in 2005-06.
"It's always nice to have a positive record, but it is all about winning games," said goaltender Mathieu Garon, who made 40 saves before stopping all three shootout attempts he faced. "Those shootout wins have been huge for us because almost half of our wins have come that way."
Much of that success is due to Garon, who is 9-0 this season and 14-4 in career shootout situations.
"In shootouts, he is awesome," said Nilsson, who has four assists in his last five games. "That's what gives us so much confidence in those situations. He stopped three out of three again today. He's one of the best shootout players in the world."
One of Garon's shootout victories this season came in Los Angeles (26-34-4), where he led the Oilers to a 4-3 victory. Garon, though, was also in net for Edmonton's 3-1 home loss on Jan. 15 in the teams' most recent meeting.
Garon, who spent the previous two seasons playing for the Kings, is 2-2-0 with a 2.46 goals-against average in four appearances against his former team. If he gets the starting nod, he looks to help the Oilers avoid consecutive home losses to the Kings for the first time since they lost back-to-back games Oct. 10, 1998-Jan. 5, 1999.
Los Angeles leads the season series 2-0-1, but hasn't won the four-game set since it went 3-0-0 with a tie in 1998-99.
The Kings will open a four-game road trip, but have lost three of their last four away games. Their 12 road wins are tied with Edmonton's for the fewest in the Western Conference.
On Saturday, Los Angeles concluded its three-game homestand with a 1-1-1 record following a 6-5 overtime loss to Chicago. The Kings rallied back from a 5-1 deficit as Michael Cammalleri, Tom Preissing, Patrick O'Sullivan and Anze Kopitar scored goals in the final 11 minutes of regulation before Chicago scored in overtime.
"That was a lot of blood and guts there in the third period. This is as good an overtime loss as you're ever going to see," Kings coach Marc Crawford said. "It was special to see our guys battle the way they did. It's a real character builder for our team."
Cammalleri, Kopitar - the team leader with 27 goals and 60 points - and Alexander Frolov each posted multipoint efforts for Los Angeles, which has lost four of its last six overall.