LaDue snaps tie, Kings pull away late for 5-2 win vs Oilers
LOS ANGELES (AP) The third period has belonged to the Los Angeles Kings all season, and they showed it again with another furious finish against the Edmonton Oilers.
Paul LaDue scored the tiebreaking goal on a power play with 5:27 remaining, and the Kings pulled away late in a 5-2 victory Wednesday night.
Darcy Kuemper made 25 saves for his fourth straight win, although his shutout streak ended at 193:58 – the second-longest in Los Angeles history behind Jonathan Quick’s mark of 202:11 in October 2011. Adrian Kempe and Kyle Clifford also scored for the Kings, who improved to 24-4-2 when tied or leading after the second period and boosted their NHL-leading scoring margin in the third to plus-35.
”These are games we want to win,” Clifford said. ”We want to have an identity that we’re a third-period hockey team, so we came out ready to play.”
Drew Doughty got his 300th NHL assist and 400th career point for Los Angeles. Current general manager Rob Blake is the only other defenseman in franchise history to reach both milestones.
Connor McDavid scored for the third straight game and Leon Draisaitl had a power-play goal for the Oilers, who failed to earn a point for the second time in their past eight games (5-2-1). Cam Talbot made 23 saves.
LaDue put the Kings back in front 3-2 at 14:33 of the third with his second NHL goal. Edmonton challenged for goaltender interference, but the play stood as called.
Alex Iafallo and Anze Kopitar added empty-net goals.
”They obviously gained some momentum in the second. We took a couple penalties we shouldn’t have,” LaDue said. ”I thought we came out strong in the third and we executed to our game plan, and it paid off.”
McDavid tied it 2-all at 10:20 of the second by beating Kuemper between his legs, giving him seven goals in his last three games. McDavid needed several seconds to collect himself after colliding with teammate Jujhar Khaira in the neutral zone before Michael Cammalleri found him for what would become a 1-on-1 break against Doughty.
”Might have been cheating a little bit high glove, and he made a good shot five-hole and made me look silly,” Kuemper said.
Draisaitl cut Edmonton’s deficit to 2-1 at 3:28 of the second, scoring the first goal Kuemper allowed after stopping 85 straight shots.
Clifford scored his second of the season to give the Kings a 1-0 lead 1:10 into the first period, and Kempe made it 2-0 just 58 seconds into the second with his 16th goal.
”We’ve been through that scenario too many times this season,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan said.
Edmonton had three chances to take the lead early in the third, starting when Darnell Nurse’s shot hit the post. Kuemper then made a sprawling save to stop Cammalleri’s follow-up before Milan Lucic hit the post again.
”The post was a good friend of ours tonight,” Kings coach John Stevens said. ”We had some luck there on those plays there, but at the end of the day I thought the guys dug in, did a good job there and got the ship righted and found a way to win the hockey game before we hit the road.”
NOTES: Kopitar passed Butch Goring for fifth place in franchise history with his 276th career goal. . Oilers D Adam Larsson missed his fourth straight game following the death of his father. … Kings D Alec Martinez (lower body) missed a second consecutive game, but Stevens expects him to be available during the upcoming seven-game road trip.
Oilers: Visit the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.
Kings: Visit the Florida Panthers on Friday night to open their seven-game trip.
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