Preview: Edmonton at Los Angeles
When: 10:30 PM ET, Thursday, February 25, 2016
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
The Los Angeles Kings attempt to maintain their slim lead in the Pacific Division and extend their winning streak to three games when they continue their three-game homestand Thursday against the basement-dwelling Edmonton Oilers. Los Angeles leads Anaheim by two points thanks to its second straight 2-1 victory – a home triumph over Calgary on Tuesday.
Anze Kopitar has regained his scoring touch, netting five goals in as many games – including the power-play winner versus the Flames in his first contest back after missing one with a lower-body injury. Edmonton is coming off a disastrous six-game homestand on which it lost the final five contests. The Oilers are last in the Western Conference and tied with Toronto for the fewest points in the league with 50. Los Angeles won each of the first three meetings in the five-game season series, two of which were one-goal decisions.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, Sportsnet 360 (Edmonton), FSN West (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE OILERS (22-33-6): Jordan Eberle is one away from reaching the 20-goal plateau for the third consecutive season after netting the lone tally in Tuesday’s loss to Ottawa but is among the worst on the team with a minus-12 rating. Edmonton cut ties with Philip Larsen on Wednesday, trading the defenseman to Vancouver for a conditional 2017 fifth-round draft pick. The 26-year-old Dane, who was a fifth-round pick of Dallas before being acquired for Shawn Horcoff in July 2013, recorded three goals and nine assists over 30 games with the Oilers in 2013-14 – his only season in the NHL.
ABOUT THE KINGS (35-20-4): Tyler Toffoli leads the team in goals (24) and power-play tallies (nine) while ranking third with four game-winners but has scored just once in his last eight games. Defenseman Drew Doughty is riding a four-game assist streak and needs one point to reach 40 for the fourth time in his career. Jeff Carter, who is mired in a seven-game goal-scoring drought and has netted only one in his last 16 contests, needs six to avoid his first sub-20 season since 2006-07 with Philadelphia.
1. Los Angeles has been held to fewer than three goals in five straight contests, going 2-2-1 in that span.
2. Edmonton recalled 21-year-old LW Jujhar Khaira, who notched two assists over 12 games in his NHL debut earlier this season, from Bakersfield of the American Hockey League on Wednesday.
3. Los Angeles G Jonathan Quick has hit the 30-win mark for the second season in a row and fifth time in his career.
PREDICTION: Kings 4, Oilers 2