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Kings' Pearson scores twice in win against Oilers

by Curtis Zupke

LOS ANGELES -- The news earlier Tuesday for the Los Angeles Kings was that they would be without left wing Marian Gaborik. By the end of the day it was obvious that another of their left wings is capable of making up for Gaborik's offense.

Tanner Pearson had a career-high two goals and an assist to highlight another excellent game by "That 70s Line" in a 6-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers at Staples Center.

Linemates Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Carter each scored a goal; Pearson leads the Kings with four goals, one more than he had in 25 games last season. Nicknamed "That 70s Line" last season because of their jersey numbers, Toffoli, Carter and Pearson have scored nine of the Kings' 12 goals this season.

Pearson was asked if there was pressure not to change his No. 70 to keep the mojo going.

"After winning the Cup last year, you don't want to change stuff up," Pearson said. "I don't think we really care about 'That 70s Line.' We don't play for the numbers, we play for the crest on the front of our shirt."

Pearson paused, smiled and said, "Classic."

Dustin Brown and Justin Williams also scored and the Kings flexed their Stanley Cup champion depth against the overwhelmed Oilers.

Edmonton entered the game shorthanded with forwards Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle out with injuries and it lost goalie Viktor Fasth to a groin injury late in the first period. He was replaced by former Kings goalie Ben Scrivens, and Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said they will recall another goalie in time for their game at the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday. The Oilers dressed four players in their lineup with a combined seven games of NHL experience including Bogdan Yakimov and Darnell Nurse, who made their NHL debuts.

"That's a tough night for those young men to come into that, to play against that team," Eakins said. "I think it's a great experience and lesson for them to show them that this is what this League is about. That is a very good hockey team, and that's where we need to continue to go through the process to get there."

The disparity between these teams led to three goals in the first period and a lot of offensive zone time by the Kings, who could be without Gaborik a little longer after he aggravated a muscle injury from preseason.

Toffoli had a highlight-reel shorthanded goal at 9:49 of the first when he dangled past defenseman Brad Hunt moving right to left before he fired a wrist shot over Fasth's right shoulder. Pearson was in the penalty box and couldn't see the goal he managed to see a replay.

"After looking at it, I'll give it to him," Pearson said. "It's a nice shot. I just kind of smirked at him and he knew what I was saying."

Williams snapped a wrist shot past Fasth at 4:21 to finish a quick breakout, and Carter one-timed Toffoli's pass at 3:06 after Pearson got the puck from Nail Yakupov.

"We just weren't hard enough in the areas that we needed to be harder," Matt Hendricks said. "It was too easy for them to go retrieve pucks in our own zone, especially at the start. Our execution on the forecheck wasn't where it needed to be. We weren't putting pucks where we needed to, subsequently they were able to retrieve the puck first and execute their breakouts. We tried to play a fast game, but our feet were stuck in quicksand at the start."

Eakins lamented on a poor start and too many easy goals allowed.

"There was some pizzas served up on a couple," Eakins said.

Edmonton spoiled the shutout on Hendricks' goal with 21 seconds left. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick was trying to tie Rogie Vachon for the team record of 32 career shutouts.

"About the only positive I can bring from it is the way our bench stuck together during the game," Eakins said. "Last year, it would be dissected, pulled apart, slamming of doors, controversy on the bench and that wasn't there. We're encouraged by that but we've got some great lessons to be learned from this game tonight."

Before the game, the Kings placed right wing Trevor Lewis on injured reserve, retroactive to Oct.8. Kings center Andy Andreoff made his NHL debut and smiled when he went to the penalty box after he fought Hendricks on his first shift.

Darryl Sutter became the fastest Kings coach to reach 100 wins and Dean Lombardi became the first Kings general manager to 300 wins. Sutter reached the milestone in his 183rd game; former Kings coach Terry Murray got his 100th win in his 197th game.

"I would have preferred to get Jonathan the cob," Sutter said in reference to Quick's lost shutout.

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