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California road trip concludes tonight

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
The Edmonton Oilers finish up a three-game California road trip tonight when they take on the Los Angeles Kings. The game can be seen on Edmonton Oilers Pay Per View starting at 8:15 p.m. MDT.

Much like the Oilers, Los Angeles has really struggled lately with five straight losses but they have been able to stay competitive in their games. Each of their last three losses have come in overtime and 10 of their last 16 games have gone into extra time.

Their most recent foray into the fourth period came yesterday as Mike Modano's wrister from the high slot beat Sean Burke to the glove side.

"He just beat me," Burke said of Modano's shot. "I saw him come across the middle and I tracked him as far as I could. He just beat me with the shot."

Kings head coach Marc Crawford felt his team deserved a better fate.

"We didn't get what we deserved," Crawford said. "(Dallas) got some breaks. We forced them to play a game they didn't want to play."

The Oilers are another team who have deserved better as of late. Most recently, last night the team dropped a 3-0 decision to the San Jose Sharks to lose their seventh straight.

The game was closer than that, however, as the Sharks clung to a one-goal lead until Kyle McLaren scored with less than four minutes remaining in the third period.

"(Roloson) was good - he did what we needed him to do," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.

"It's a tough game to win if you can't score," he continued. "We had a number of good chances, but we can't score right now."

With only five goals during this seven-game slump, the Oilers are looking for answers. It's proving difficult with the team still not icing a full lineup and even some of those who are playing are inflicted with the flu virus.

The Oilers have won two of three meetings with Los Angeles this season including a 2-1 victory in overtime at the Staples Center on January 8.

ROSTER UPDATES: Edmonton - Jarret Stoll (concussion) is out. Ethan Moreau (shoulder) is out. Marty Reasoner (shoulder) is out. Steve Staios (knee) is out. Daniel Tjarnqvist (inflamed pubic bone) is out. Mathieu Roy (concussion) is out. Tom Gilbert (concussion) is out. Jan Hejda (shoulder) is out. Ales Hemsky (shoulder) is out. Petr Nedved (knee) is out. Los Angeles – Dan Cloutier (hip) is out. Derek Armstrong (knee) is out. Anze Kopitar (lower back) is out.

Tonight's game will be available on pay-per-view via Shaw Digital Cable, Star Choice and Bell Expressvu. If you don't have any of those three service providers you can still catch tonight's game at one of four participating Cineplex Odeon, Galaxy or Silver City theatres.

OILERS TO WATCH: Yesterday, the fourth line of Brad Winchester, Zack Stortini and Patrick Thoresen had a number of scoring chances for the Oilers. The trio combined for four shots on net and had arguably the team's best chance of the night when Winchester's shot was stopped by the paddle of Nabokov's stick... For the second straight game, Matt Greene posted a career high for ice time at 27:54. He also had an even rating for the second straight game... Bryan Young was a physical presence last night in his second career NHL game. He had five hits to lead the Oilers despite only playing 14:22.

KINGS TO WATCH: With the Kings playing their second game in as many nights, goaltender Mathieu Garon could get the start in net. In his last six starts, he has not allowed more than four goals in each start but has a record of 0-2-4. His last win came on January 6... Alexander Frolov has eight goals in his last 16 games and leads the Kings with a career-high 33 goals on the season. However, he has not scored in his last five which is his second-longest slump of the season.

FAST FACTS: 15 of the Kings' last 20 games have been decided by one goal. The team has a record of 6-7-7 during that span... Both teams are playing their second game in as many nights. Los Angeles is 5-5-1 in that situation while the Oilers are 4-6-1. Their last win was on the second game of back-to-back nights - a 4-3 shootout win against Detroit.
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