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Oilers-Kings Preview

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A recent run of success on the road may have the Los Angeles Kings glad that 19 of their remaining 29 games will be played outside of Staples Center.

But if the Kings don't begin to play better at home, they still may not have much chance of returning to the postseason.

Two days after being shut out for the second time in its past three home games, Los Angeles will try to rebound Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers, one of the teams it's chasing in the crowded Western Conference.

Going into Thursday night's game against Calgary, the Kings (24-22-7) had played eight of their previous nine on the road, winning the last four to finish the stretch 7-1-1 and surge back into the playoff race. They haven't been to the postseason since 2002.

But Los Angeles couldn't solve Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who stopped 36 shots in Calgary's 2-0 win. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick allowed one goal on 20 shots, but his teammates were shut out for the eighth time this season, matching Phoenix for the most in the NHL.

The Kings had averaged 3.9 goals in their previous eight games - seven on the road. They've been held under two goals seven times in their last 11 home games, including three shutouts.

Los Angeles is 3-6-2 over that span, including 1-4-0 in the last five while totaling two goals in the losses.

"When you're coming home and you've got some momentum, you've played well, you've got to find a way to do it," Los Angeles coach Terry Murray said. "You've got to score. You've got to win the game. If you let too many of those opportunities slide by, again you're chasing from behind too far."

The Kings are in a three-way tie for 11th in the West, four points out of the eighth and final playoff berth.

The Oilers (27-23-4) are only one point back of that spot, hoping to avoid missing the postseason for a third straight year.

Edmonton has allowed at least eight goals twice since the All-Star break, but it was finally on the winning end of a blowout Wednesday night, 7-2 over visiting Montreal.

Coach Craig MacTavish's team led 4-0 in the first period and had seven different goal scorers, going 3-for-7 on the power play and igniting an offense that totaled four goals in its first five February games, losing four.

"It was a big game for us confidence-wise," defenseman Sheldon Souray said. "We didn't play the prettiest of games, but we worked hard and got pucks to the net. We did things that we said we wanted to do."

Souray has totaled 23 of his 34 points on the road for Edmonton, which now opens a four-game trip which includes three matchups with opponents also seeking one of the West's final playoff spots.

The Oilers and the Kings have split two meetings this season, most recently Edmonton's 5-4 shootout win in Los Angeles on Dec. 5. The Kings lost after erasing a 3-0 first-period deficit with four goals in the second.

None of the three goalies who saw action in that game are likely to play Saturday. Jason LaBarbera has since been traded away by the Kings and Mathieu Garon was dealt by the Oilers, while Los Angeles' Erik Ersberg hasn't played since Jan. 17 due to a lower-body injury.

The 23-year-old Quick, who is 11-7-0 with a 2.33 goals-against average, has taken control of the Kings' starting job, while veteran Dwayne Roloson has started 10 straight games for Edmonton.

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