The Oilers homestand continues with a 7 p.m. MT New Year’s Eve matchup against the Anaheim Ducks. The game can be seen on Sportsnet West or heard on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network.
EDMONTON, AB – Jonathan Quick made 42 saves and the Los Angeles Kings scored three goals in a span of 1:36, winning 5-2 over the Oilers at Rexall Place.
“I liked the way we were playing. Things were going pretty well for us,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “We were doing a lot of the things we wanted to against a real good team, and in a matter of a minute and a half the bottom falls out on us for a number of reasons. That was disappointing.”
The Oilers outshot the Kings 13-10 in the first period with their top line getting a couple nice scoring chances, but Quick was strong in net for the visitors. Quick’s performance between the pipes would be a reoccurring theme as he frustrated Edmonton throughout the game.
Milan Lucic hit Lauri Korpikoski from behind in the corner while the Kings were on the power play. There was no penalty called, but rookie Darnell Nurse showed courage, challenging the veteran tough guy for his first NHL fight at 14:11 of the opening frame.
“I just tried to stand up for my teammate,” Nurse said after the game.
20 seconds into the second period, the Oilers top line again had a chance with Teddy Purcell firing a backhander into the pad of Quick.
Then came the Kings. Los Angeles potted three in rapid succession to take control of what was once a game that seemed to be tipped in the Oilers favour.
Dwight King broke open the floodgates at 4:22 of the second. He was assisted by Dustin Brown and Trevor Lewis.
The Kings went up 2-0, despite being outshot at the time, 1:20 later. Michael Mersch won the puck in a corner battle and took it to the net, going five-hole on Cam Talbot. Andy Andreoff had the lone assist.
Tyler Toffoli made it 3-0 just 16 seconds following that goal with his 18th of the season. Anders Nilsson replaced Talbot at that time, with the Oilers looking to stem the tide. Toffoli’s goal was assisted by Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty.
“Every single time you get that span, three goals, it’s tough, especially against a team like this,” said Oilers defenceman Andrej Sekera. “They play really good defence. They don’t give up too much. They make you pay hard for your mistakes and they make you earn your goals. It’s tough, 3-0, and we tried to have a little pushback there but it wasn’t good enough.”
The Oilers managed a flurry of chances late in a power play, midway through the second, but Quick again turned the home team away.
Then, finally, the Oilers managed to break through Quick. On the rush, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins flipped a pass to Benoit Pouliot, who sniped his eighth of the season and his third of his last two games. Jordan Eberle recorded the second assist as the Oil pulled the game back within two at 9:56 of the middle frame.
A few minutes later, Quick kicked away a chance by Leon Draisaitl as the Oilers started to push back.
At 14:18 of the second, the Kings once again made it a three-goal game. Brown set up Lewis backdoor for a snipe past the outstretched glove of Nilsson. King recorded the second assist.
“The way we behaved or acted a little bit after that disappointment, I thought our shoulders rolled a little bit. But the good news is we recovered for the third, we held our heads high and went back out and started to play hard again. If we can take anything positive out of it, it is that,” said McLellan.
Mark Letestu brought the Oilers back within a pair at 1:59 of the third. Korpikoski tossed the puck in front and Letestu crashed the net, potting his fifth of the year. Andrej Sekera added a second assist.
The Oilers kept the pressure on. Letestu was denied on a power play opportunity minutes later. They had a few more looks at the net, but Quick kept them at bay.
Despite that pushback from the Oilers, a comeback wasn’t in the cards. The Kings made it 5-2 at 11:58 of the final frame with Brown scoring on the power play, assisted by Lewis and Jake Muzzin.
The Oilers outshot the Kings 43-33 for the game, but Quick’s 41 saves were the difference. Edmonton will try to right the ship on New Year’s Eve against the Anaheim Ducks.