Game Preview: Kings vs. Oilers

 

Preview: The Kings (5-6-2; 12 points) head into Edmonton with the second worst record in the Western Conference. A physical 3-2 loss against the Blackhawks on Sunday should focus and motivate the Kings who have had success at Rex Place (7-0-2) over the past couple of seasons. The Oilers (6-5-3; 15 points) are rolling after a 6-4 come from behind win against the Avalanche, which was their highest point total of the season.

The 40-year-old Nikolai Khabibulin will be making his second start of the season for the Oilers. The veteran has had quality production in his previous two appearances allowing only three goals on 47 shots. Edmonton has a physical defense that seldomly finds itself out of place and one of the better penalty kill units in the league.

Mike Richards found the back of the night twice in Chicago on power plays. The Blackhawks entered the game Sunday with a 92.2 kill rate a percentage that was second best in the league. The defensemen – Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin, and Slava Voynov – will be firing away as the Kings tend to play wild when they are desperate rather than refocusing.

 

Team Stats:

 

Goals/g

 GA

   PP

   PK

 S/G

 SA

 F/O

         Kings

   2.23

2.69

15.0%

81.0%

 29.2

24.9

48.8%

Oilers

   2.43

2.64

 23.9%

86.8%

 29.0

 33.3

 45.9%

 

Team Leaders:

 

Kings

Predators

Points

Anze Kopitar: 9

Mike Richards: 9

Jeff Carter: 7

Sam Gagner: 15

Taylor Hall: 15

Jordan Eberle: 11

Goals

Jeff Carter: 6

Anze Kopitar: 4

Mike Richards: 4

Ales Hemsky: 7

Jordan Eberle: 5

Nail Yakupov: 5

Assists

Drew Doughty: 6

Anze Kopitar: 5

Mike Richards: 5

Taylor Hall: 12

Sam Gagner: 11

Jordan Eberle: 6

+/-

Slava Voynov: 6

Justin Williams: 3

Jake Muzzin: 3

Mark Fistric: 4

Taylor Hall: 2

Ryan nugent-Hopkins: 2

Final Thought: The only meeting between these teams this season was a 2-1 Edmonton win in overtime. Nail Yakupov scored with 4.7 seconds left in regulation to force the sudden death period. A rookie, Yakupov took off after he scored running/skating to the center of the ice where he dropped to his knees and slid for several seconds. The celebration has been dissected and will be discussed tonight but it was by no means an ostentatious display of disrespect, it was a young rookie scoring a phenomenal goal after sitting around because of the lockout.

Tonight’s game will undoubtedly be physical but it won’t be cheap.