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Preview: Kings at Oilers

Edmonton can clinch first playoff berth since 2006; Los Angeles aims to gain in wild-card race

by Derek Van Diest / NHL.com Correspondent

KINGS (35-32-7) at OILERS (41-25-9)

9 p.m. ET; SNW, FS-W, NHL.TV

 

Kings team scope

The Los Angeles Kings are fifth in the Pacific Division, 11 points behind the St. Louis Blues who hold the second wild card into the Stanley Cup playoffs from the Western Conference. Los Angeles is playing the first game of a three-game Western Canada road trip. "We can't really be looking at the standings and seeing what other teams do, even though we need other teams to lose," defenseman Drew Doughty said. "All we can control is us and we haven't played well against Edmonton this year, so it's about time we show them the way we can actually play." Los Angeles lost at Edmonton, 2-0 on March 20 and 3-1 on Dec. 29. "We've been unable to play fast in this building [Rogers Place]," forward Dustin Brown said. "We did a better job against them at home [4-2 win on Nov. 17]. They're big and strong, and if you let big and strong be fast, they're going to beat you every time. So we have to play a fast game, moving pucks and getting pucks in and then we can start to use our size a bit more." The Kings have lost three of their past four games (1-3-0) and have eight games remaining. "We need a lot of help to get in," Brown said. "At the end of the day, we need to focus on what we can control and that's the games we're playing in. We have to start taking care of our own games and we haven't done that lately. Losing three of four is not good enough at this time of year."

 

Oilers team scope

The Oilers can clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2006 with a win in any fashion. The Oilers are tied for second in the Pacific Division with the San Jose Sharks. Edmonton and San Jose each have 91 points and are two points behind the first-place Anaheim Ducks. "Obviously you play here to make the playoffs and it hasn't gone the way we've wanted to the past few years," Oilers forward Jordan Eberle said, the longest-tenured player on the roster, who has been with Edmonton since the 2010-11 season and has played 500 games. "Being here the longest to have that opportunity to do it, it's exciting. From Day One, since I've been here, I played with a lot of the guys that were on that run in '06 and they talk about the fans and how crazy it was in the building. To have an opportunity to do it [clinch] tonight is exciting." Edmonton lost the 2006 Stanley Cup Final to the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games. "It's been a long time," captain Connor McDavid said. "The fans have been through a lot, they stuck with us, they're still very loyal and we, obviously, really appreciate that." Edmonton is on a two-game winning streak and have won six of its past seven games (6-1-0). "We're aware of the opportunity that is in front of us," coach Todd McLellan said. "The preparation and the approach will be the same as it is any other night. It's something that we want to continue to do moving forward, in all the games from now until it's done."

 

Kings projected lineup

Dustin Brown -- Anze Kopitar -- Jarome Iginla

Tanner Pearson -- Jeff Carter -- Tyler Toffoli

Adrian Kempe -- Nic Dowd -- Jonny Brodzinski

Kyle Clifford -- Trevor Lewis -- Jordan Nolan

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin -- Paul LaDue

Brayden McNabb -- Alec Martinez

Jonathan Quick

Ben Bishop

Scratched: Marian Gaborik, Andy Andreoff, Kevin Gravel

Injured: Matt Greene (back), Nick Shore (upper body)

 

Oilers projected lineup

Patrick Maroon -- Connor McDavid -- Leon Draisaitl

Milan Lucic -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Jordan Eberle

Benoit Pouliot -- David Desharnais -- Zack Kassian

Drake Caggiula -- Mark Letestu -- Anton Slepyshev

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson

Andrej Sekera -- Kris Russell

Darnell Nurse -- Eric Gryba

Cam Talbot

Laurent Brossoit

Scratched: Iiro Pakarinen, Jujhar Khaira, Matt Hendricks

Injured: Tyler Pitlick (knee), Matt Benning (foot)

 

Status report

Gaborik and Andreoff will be healthy scratches and replaced by Nolan and Clifford. … Brodzinski will play his second game with the Kings. He was recalled from Ontario of the American Hockey League on Thursday. … Benning blocked a shot in a 4-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday and will not play. Gryba will take his place on the third defensive pairing.

 

Who's hot

Kopitar has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his past eight games. … Draisaitl is on a seven-game point streak with 14 points (four goals, 10 assists). … McDavid is on a seven-game point streak with 13 points (3 goals, 10 assists). He leads the NHL in scoring with 88 points (26 goals, 62 assists), six points ahead of Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (42 goals, 40 assists) and Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane (34 goals, 48 assists).

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