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Oilers break road drought with 3-2 win at L.A.

by John Kreiser

The Edmonton Oilers ended two months of futility on the road by beating the Los Angeles Kings in a shootout -- again.

Lubomir Visnovsky's goal in the 10th round of the breakaway competition lifted the Oilers to a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center on Thursday night -- ending a franchise-record 11-game losing streak away from Rexall Place.

After the Oilers blew a 2-0 lead in the third period, Visnovsky came down and ripped a high wrist shot over the blocker of Erik Ersberg, who got the start because No. 1 goaltender Jonathan Quick had flulike symptoms. It was the Oilers' fourth consecutive victory at Los Angeles -- all in shootouts.

"They've been hard to come by, our wins this year, so it was nice to have that happen," Oilers coach Pat Quinn said. "We found a way to give up a couple of goals, but our guys battled hard. We killed off a penalty in overtime, and we deserved a couple of points We have on other nights and haven't gotten them, but tonight we did.

The Oilers, last in the overall standings, are 4-22-2 in their last 28 games. They went 1-4-0 on a five-game road trip.

Los Angeles lost for the first time in its last seven shootouts. The Kings led three times in the shootout, but Shawn Horcoff, Penner and Gilbert Brule all beat Ersberg to keep Edmonton alive before Visnovsky got the winner.

"They have great skill guys," Deslauriers said. "But every time they put the puck in, our guys stepped up and kept me in the game."

Deslauriers finished with 41 saves through 65 minutes and made seven more in the shootout.

"He was real good, and good in the shootout as well," Quinn said. "He seemed a lot more confident tonight than he has on other nights."

The Oilers looked like they were on their way to their first road win since beating the Blues in St. Louis on Dec. 11 when Dustin Penner scored a power-play goal 7:47 into the third period, putting them ahead 2-0. Denis Grebeshkov had opened the scoring by beating Ersberg at 13:38 of the second period.

But the Kings, who saw their franchise-record nine-game winning streak ended Monday at Anaheim, stepped up their game. Dustin Brown got L.A. on the board at 11:05 when he backhanded a loose puck over Jeff Deslauriers. With the sellout crowd of 18.118 now solidly behind them, the Kings kept the pressure on and were rewarded when former Edmonton captain Ryan Smyth flipped home a rebound with 4:48 remaining.

"In the third period, we got traffic around the net," Brown said. "That's something we didn't do in the first two periods."

Though his team got 43 shots, Kings coach Terry Murray said Deslauriers saw too many of them.

"The thing that we needed to be better at in that game was just getting traffic at the net," he said. "We were standing off the post, we were off the side of the crease, but we needed to 'play' goaltender, to be right at his head. He saw a lot of pucks, and you end up getting a couple goals on pucks coming from the blue line.”

Kings center Anze Kopitar said his team can't afford to continue to get off to poor starts.

"Obviously we’re not at the level we should be, right when the puck drops," he said. "When you fall behind, it’s tough to chase. We’ve pulled it off numerous times, but you can’t win hockey games like that.”

Material from team media was used in this report
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