Fresh off a home-and-home sweep of the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Edmonton Oilers look to build on the momentum when they visit the struggling Los Angeles Kings on Monday night.
Edmonton (12-14-1) leads only the Calgary Flames in the Northwest Division but has played its best hockey of the season lately, winning four of its last five games and seven of 11, including a weekend home-and-home sweep of the Anaheim Ducks by a combined 9-1 margin.
After a 5-1 home victory on Friday, the Oilers won 4-0 at Anaheim on Sunday. Prior to the games against the Ducks, Edmonton had scored four goals or more just once in its previous eight contests.
Raffi Torres, Dustin Penner, Tom Gilbert and Joni Pitkanen scored the goals Sunday, with Penner's the most bizarre. The left wing scored his fifth goal of the season late in the first period after the puck deflected off his mouth.
"You throw pucks at the net and you never know what happens, it could go off your head, off your leg they all count," said Penner, who has three goals and four assists in 11 career games versus the Kings. "It's probably the nicest goal I've had in a while."
Backup goaltender - and former King - Mathieu Garon recorded 25 saves for his second shutout of the season and 12th of his career.
Garon spent the previous two seasons in Los Angeles, where he went 13-10-6 with a 2.66 goals-against average last year before signing as an unrestricted free-agent with the Oilers in July.
If he gets the chance to face his former team, it will be the third time he's gone up against the Kings (10-14-1). He is 1-1-0 with a 2.01 GAA in starts in 2003 and 2004, while with the Montreal Canadiens.
Usual starting goaltender Dwayne Roloson is 6-9-0 with five ties and a 2.23 GAA lifetime against the Kings. He recorded 27 saves in a 4-1 loss at Los Angeles on Oct. 27.
Patrick O'Sullivan scored two goals to lead the Kings in that contest - Los Angeles' second straight win over the Oilers after losing 10 of the previous 15 meetings.
Overall, though, Los Angeles has dropped two of three and six of eight, including a 5-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, when the Kings let an early two-goal lead slip away.
"We had a great first period and it looked like we were going to have a great game, and then the wheels completely fell off. I wish I had an explanation as to why," Kings coach Marc Crawford said.
The defeat was especially painful for goaltender Jason LaBarbera, who left the game after 45 minutes with a rib injury. Backup Jean-Sebastien Aubin allowed two goals, recording only three saves.
LaBarbera's status for Monday night is uncertain, as is the status of left wing Alexander Frolov, who missed his fourth straight game Saturday with a groin injury.