Oilers-Kings Preview

The Los Angeles Kings opened a home-heavy portion of their
schedule last month with a victory over the Edmonton Oilers. They
are hoping for a similar result to end a slump before hitting the
road.

Los Angeles closes out its season-high eight-game homestand
Saturday night when it faces an Oilers team that’s been playing
better of late.

Opening a stretch of 10 of 12 at Staples Center, the Kings
(23-19-1) snapped a five-game home losing streak to Edmonton
(14-21-7) on Dec. 23 with a 3-2 shootout victory. The Oilers had
won in the tiebreaker in their previous five visits to Los
Angeles.

Following a 4-1 victory over Anaheim on Dec. 26 gave them their
best home start in franchise history at 13-2-1, however, the Kings
have dropped six of seven on their extended stretch at Staples
Center.

Once atop the Western Conference, Los Angeles dropped into a tie
for 10th following Thursday’s 3-1 loss to St. Louis.

“We’ll find a way through this together, but not one or two guys
is going to do it,” forward Ryan Smyth told the Kings’ official
website. “Yes, guys have got to step up and raise their level of
play, for sure, but it’s going to be with everybody in this locker
room.

“Everybody wants to win. There’s a sense of urgency and a
winning attitude, but it’s finding it and playing with confidence
and building one period or one shift at a time to carry forth into
the next and then into the game situations when you’re
winning.”

While Los Angeles is trying to get back on track before playing
13 of 16 away from home, the Oilers are looking to build momentum
after snapping a five-game road skid Thursday with a 5-2 victory
over San Jose. Rookie Taylor Hall scored twice and added an assist
and Alex Hemsky tied a career best with four assists to help
Edmonton improve to 1-2-0 on its five-game trip.

“It was a fun night,” Hall said after netting his team-high
14th goal. “It could have been a huge night, but first and foremost
we played well as a team and got the win.”

Seeking back-to-back victories for the first time since a
season-high four-game run from Nov. 29-Dec. 4, the Oilers will look
for a better effort from their power-play unit. Edmonton is 0 for
27 with the man advantage over its last nine games since Hall
scored in the second period of last month’s loss in Los
Angeles.

The Kings have killed just 13 of 19 penalties on their
homestand.

Los Angeles coach Terry Murray could give backup goaltender
Jonathan Bernier his first start versus the Oilers over Jonathan
Quick, who is 1-5-0 with a 3.87 goals-against average in his last
six starts.

Quick, though, is 4-0-2 with a 1.77 GAA lifetime versus Edmonton
after making 27 saves and stopping five of six tiebreak attempts in
the Dec. 23 contest.

Edmonton coach Tom Renney will likely give Devan Dubnyk a second
straight start after he made a season-high 41 saves Thursday.
Dubnyk turned away 27 shots in last month’s defeat at Staples
Center.

Los Angeles has a point in nine straight games versus Edmonton
(5-0-4) since a 5-4 regulation defeat Feb. 28, 2008.