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Under the Scope: Oilers vs Kings

by Karmela Arocena / Edmonton Oilers

Tonight's game was the first game for the Oilers since the All-Star break, and the team was hoping that both the physical and mental rest would help them get back on the winning track.  Their first test after the break was against a Los Angeles Kings team that had played in a 1-0 loss the night before in Minnesota.  Although the Oilers started the game with some spark, a talented Kings team out-powered them 3-1.

The Oilers came out strong in the first, outshooting their opponents 12-5 (the Kings had registered only one shot in the first 14:55 minutes of play).  The game remained scoreless through the first 20 minutes due to some strong play by Kings goalie, Jonathan Quick.  He managed to deny the Oilers a goal on three powerplay opportunities.  Despite numerous chances with the extra man, one of which included a shot that rang off the post, the Oilers couldn't capitalize and the two teams entered the second scoreless.

The start of the second was a little bit better for the Oilers.  While Theo Peckham did get called just 39 seconds into the frame for delay of game, the Kings weren't able to capitalize.  Less than a minute after the Oilers killed Peckham's penalty, Magnus Paajarvi opened up the scoring with his seventh goal of the season after Sam Gagner made an amazing spin move around Kings forward Trevor Lewis.  The Oilers lead was short-lived though, as former Oiler Ryan Smyth scored 24 seconds later on the powerplay to tie the game.  At 9:47 of the second, Smyth did it again and scored his second powerplay goal of the game to put the Kings up 2-1.

In the final frame, the score of the game didn't change much.  The Kings were pressing in the third to increase their lead, but Khabibulin was there to keep the Oilers within one.  Khabibulin's penalty shot save in the third against former Oiler Jarret Stoll was just one example of his spectacular saves.  However, at 14:52 of the third, Jack Johnson scored the game's final goal, unassisted, with a slap shot from the point.  The Oilers couldn't recover after this, losing the game 3-1.

All you need to know and more as we go Under the Scope:

When Paajarvi opened the scoring just 3:21 into the second after playing a determined first period, it seemed like the Oilers were on their way to a victory against a tired Kings team that played in Minnesota the night before.  However, a Dustin Penner penalty just seconds after the Oilers goal, resulted in a powerplay marker for the Kings.  After tying the game up at one, the momentum shifted to the Kings, and they cruised to a 3-1 victory.

46 Tonight, the Oilers won 46% of the draws tonight. Sam Gagner led the team with a 67% efficiency rate, going 6-3 in the faceoff dot tonight.
5 Theo Peckham continues to hammer the point (literally) that he is a force to be reckoned with.  The Oilers bruising defenceman laid down 5 hits tonight.
13 The Oilers were unable to hold onto the puck tonight, and puck posession was definitely an issue.  The Oilers had 13 giveaways tonight, and only managed 6 takeaways.
3 Andrew Cogliano is proving to be a solid third line player.  The speedy centre recorded 3 blocked shots tonight, the most of anyone on the team.

Ryan Smyth
G A P +/- Shots
2 0 2 E 2

Jack Johnson
G A P +/- Shots
1 2 3 +1 2

Magnus Paajarvi
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 E 2

Jonathan Quick
33 32 1 60:00 .967

Nikolai Khabibulin
26 23 3 58:44 .880

Drew Doughty - D

  24:24 - 2P, -1 rating

Tom Gilbert - D

25:28 - 3 hits, E rating

While the Oilers were only able to mark one up on the scoresheet tonight, the lone goal that opened the scoring proved to be their best play.  Linus Omark was handling the puck around the boards when he made a pass to Sam Gagner in the slot.  Gagner used a spin move to maneuver around Kings forward Trevor Lewis and managed to feed the puck to an open Magnus Paajarvi.  Paajarvi then one-timed the puck into the open net past Jonathan Quick, and the Oilers were up 1-0.

Though he isn't an Oiler anymore, Ryan Smyth is still a welcomed individual in Oil Country.  In his 17:27 minutes of ice time, the former face of the Oilers scored two powerplay goals, one of which turned out to be the game winner.  His efforts earned him the first star of the game, and a rousing applause from the Oilers fans in attendance.

While the score may not have reflected it, Nikolai Khabibulin did everything he could to keep his team in the game.  When the score was tied at one, Dustin Brown came speeding into the net, but Khabibulin was there to stop the initial shot, as well as sweep the puck right off the goal line that seemed to trickle through.  When the score was 2-1 in the third, he also stopped numerous Kings chances, including a Jarett Stoll penalty shot. 

Theo Peckham's physical and abusing play is still making him known in the NHL.  While the Oilers defenceman threw five hits tonight, none were more memorable than his hit on Justin Williams at 16:52 of the second.  With Williams just inside the blueline waiting for his teammates to catch up with him, Peckham through a monstrous open ice hit to send the Kings winger flying.

Despite outshooting the Kings 33-26, the Oilers once again failed to record a win.  The team has now dropped to 2-8-2 when outshooting their opponents this season.

"It's one of those things that's moving in the right direction, but at the same time it is frustrating because we've been talking about it for six weeks now.  There comes a time where we step up and be professionals and bring our A game.  I think the guys did a good job tonight but we could still get better."

-  Oilers defenceman Kurtis Foster on the frustrating loss to LA

Friday, February 4 at St. Louis
  6:00pm MT (SNET-W / 630 CHED)

The Oilers are back on the road in St. Louis.  The team starts a three game road trip Friday against a struggling Blues team that has lost 3 straight games.

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