The Oilers have just four games left to their season and return home next to host the Anaheim Ducks on Monday at 7 p.m. MT. The game can be seen on Sportsnet West or heard on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network.
EDMONTON, AB – Saturday’s game seemed like it may be a back-and-forth affair at the start with the Oilers and Kings trading goals within a minute of each other on two occasions less than 11 minutes into the first period.
The Kings pulled away in the middle frame, though, scoring three times and taking a 5-2 lead heading into the third. Edmonton battled back to make it a 5-4 game at 16:50 of the final frame; however, the Kings held on to win 6-4 following a late empty-net tally.
“I thought there were times during the game where we played well. We had good performances from some players, some average from others,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “I thought the difference was our play in and around our paint. They did a good job of establishing body position and getting second or third opportunities.”
The Kings scored four unanswered goals, taking a 5-2 lead, before the Oilers managed to respond midway through the third. By then, the Oilers comeback attempts were running against the clock.
“You can’t really go down three against these guys, in this building,” said Oilers centre Connor McDavid, who finished his night with a goal and an assist. “We did a very good job of coming back late in the game there, and you can kind of see what happens when we play desperate hockey. We really gave them all they could handle and we’ve done that a couple times late in games, not just against these guys. It’s tough to come back from three but we did a good job.”
Tyler Toffoli put the Kings up 1-0 just 16 seconds into the game, redirecting a Brayden McNabb shot on net and then burying his own rebound behind Laurent Brossoit. Milan Lucic recorded the secondary assist.
Edmonton responded quickly, 22 seconds later, with Jordan Eberle tucking a rebound of his own beneath Jonathan Quick. Jordan Oesterle had the lone assist on the goal. Eberle has scored a goal in three straight games and five of his last seven, moving back into a tie with Taylor Hall for the Oilers goal-scoring lead, netting his 25th.
The Oilers went up 2-1 thanks to McDavid’s 15th of the season. The rookie poked the puck from Kings forward Vincent Lecavalier in front of Quick and it ended up behind the line at 9:53 of the first.
The trend of quick responses continued with Jeff Carter potting the Kings second of the night at 10:20, just 27 seconds after the Oilers go-ahead tally. Lucic recorded his second helper of the night. The Oilers challenged that Brossoit was interfered with but the goal was upheld.
“I was told it was interference, then I think I was told the goaltender should have got up and made a different selection of save. I don’t know. Massive confusion on my behalf,” said McLellan.
Toffoli put the Kings on top 3-2 at 3:11 of the second when he got behind Oilers forward Adam Cracknell and snapped a shot past Brossoit. Lucic recorded the assist, giving him three points on the night.
Lucic and Oilers winger Patrick Maroon then dropped the gloves at 9:38 of the second for a brief fight near the penalty boxes.
Edmonton found themselves in a two-goal hole when Andy Andreoff hacked at the puck in front of Brossoit until it finally slipped past the goaltender. Toffoli recorded an assist, giving him a three-point night as well.
Trevor Lewis fluttered a shot past Brossoit at 17:26 of the middle frame, shorthanded, to pull the Kings further away and give them a 5-2 lead.
Maroon inched the Oilers closer to the Kings, cutting their lead to 5-3 at 9:22 of the third, sniping a shot short side on the power play, assisted by Andrej Sekera and Eberle.
At 16:50 of the third, McDavid found Maroon on the doorstep to pull his team within one. McDavid backhanded a feed on net and Maroon was there to bury his second of the night. With the assist, McDavid has 10 points in his current seven-game point streak and his two-point night allowed him to take sole possession of fourth place in NHL rookie scoring with 45 points in 41 games played.
Maroon, meanwhile, has been a force for the Oilers since they acquired him via trade at the deadline. Following his two third-period goals, he has 11 points in 12 games for Edmonton. Maroon gives the Oil a big body to skate with skilled forwards Eberle and McDavid.
“That line had 12 shots on goal, scored a couple goals and it has easily been our best line, it’s not even close,” said McLellan. “(Maroon) complements those other two well, so we’re happy with that group. We need some more from others.”
The Kings got the insurance empty-net goal with 33 seconds left to play.
The Oilers have just four games left to their 2015-16 season and now return home to host the Anaheim Ducks on Monday at 7 p.m. MT.