The Edmonton Oilers, coming off an offensive slug fest against Phoenix yesterday, rested up for their game tonight in Los Angeles against the Kings. Though they did not skate, members of the team and Head Coach Dallas Eakins made themselves available to the media this morning.
Multiple transactions have taken place today as the Oilers have called up forward Anton Lander, defenceman Corey Potter and goalie Richard Bachman for the Oklahoma City Barons in the American Hockey League.
Bachman and Lander are both confirmed to be in the lineup tonight against the Kings with Bachman making his first start in an Oilers uniform.
"It's a good opportunity," said Bachman. "Anytime you can get up and get an opportunity with the situation, I don't want to read too much into it. I just want to focus on what I can control. I don't need to go in there and try to be a superhero all of the sudden. I just need to concentrate on making one save at a time then hopefully that will gain me some more starts."
LANDER ON THE WING
While Lander has played exclusively as a centre for the OKC Barons this season, scoring six points (2-4-6) in eight games, the 22-year-old will play on the wing for the Oilers tonight in Los Angeles.
The move comes a day after rookie winger Tyler Pitlick sustained a left knee injury against the Coyotes in Glendale, AZ.
"He'll be on the wing to start anyway, but I might start mixing up those combinations as the game goes," said Eakins. "I'll see how Anton does over on that side. I can also flip (Ryan Jones) over to the right side and get Anton a little more comfortable on his strong side. That will be a work in progress as the game goes but we're just going to slide him right in there to where Pitlick was."
Lander says he should be able to slide into that role rather easily.
"Yeah I've been playing centreman," said Lander. "But I think it's an easier step to go to the wing than wing to centreman. I don't mind that and I'll just play where Dallas puts me."
HEAVY AND FAST
The Los Angeles Kings have had a solid start to their season with a record of 6-4-0 and the Oilers know it will be a challenge to not only win, but just to score on a team that plays such a great defensive game.
"Heavy and fast," said Eakins. "That's the way to play the game and they've got both of them. We are definitely going to have to work hard to get to the scoring areas. Our skill will be challenged tonight. It's nice that you can score goals but tonight it will be a challenge to get the puck in their net because they are excellent defensively and they are a hard team to play against."
Big story: Sunday marks the last of a four-game homestand for the Kings, who have won two of the first three. Meanwhile, it’s a quick turnaround for Edmonton, which played at Phoenix on Saturday afternoon.
Oilers: Edmonton showed signs of snapping out of its early-season funk, winning back-to-back games against Ottawa and Montreal last Saturday and Tuesday, respectively. But the Oilers enter Sunday hoping to avoid a three-game losing streak after falling 5-4 to the Coyotes on Saturday at Jobing.com Arena. Oliver Ekman-Larsson broke a 4-4 tie with a power-play goal at 12:23 of the third period.
"Once again, we played a pretty solid game for the most part," said center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who had two assists in the loss. "Obviously, you can't take three penalties in the last 10 minutes."
Kings: Los Angeles responded from a 3-2 loss to the Calgary Flames last Monday by earning a 7-4 win against Phoenix on Thursday at Staples Center. Dwight King had a hat trick and Anze Kopitar chipped in with a goal and two assists for the Kings, who blew a 4-0 lead but managed to regain their composure and pick up two points in the standings.
"Our team put up seven goals," King said. "That's the first time since I've been here that we put up that big of a number. It went up and down tonight, obviously, with the big lead, giving it up. I think from 15 minutes left in the third, we got back to how we play."
Who's hot: Nugent-Hopkins has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past four games for the Oilers. … Kopitar has 11 points (one goal, 10 assists) in 11 games for Los Angeles. Mike Richards has a point in three of his past four games.