Oilers-Kings Preview

A visit from the Edmonton Oilers could be what the Los Angeles

Kings need to bounce back from their first defeat this month.

The Kings look to get back on track while trying to continue

their recent success against the lowly Oilers on Tuesday night.

Los Angeles (22-8-4) recorded at least three goals each time

while winning its first six games of December, but it was held to

22 shots in a 3-1 loss at NHL-leading Chicago on Sunday. The Kings

have allowed the fewest goals in the league with 68, but could not

stop the highest-scoring team in the NHL from recording three in

the first period.

The 40 shots faced by Ben Scrivens matched a season high allowed

by Los Angeles, which got a late goal from defenseman Alec Martinez

to avoid the shutout.

“It wasn’t the start that we wanted and it’s hard to play

catch-up,” said Kings center Anze Kopitar, who had four goals in

the previous four games. “It’s quite a bit to overcome when it’s

that kind of team. It’s no secret we lost the game in the first

period.”

Despite the defeat, Los Angeles went 3-1-0 on a trip that began

with three stops in eastern Canada.

“You look the at the road trip, we got six of (a possible) eight

(points), but we thought we could make it a great road trip,”

Martinez told the team’s official website. “We’ve got to bounce

back and be ready for Edmonton.”

The Kings have dropped back-to-back games in regulation once

this season. They’ve won three in a row over Edmonton (11-21-3),

allowing eight goals in going 5-0-2 in the past seven in the

series.

Mike Richards scored in regulation and again in the shootout of

a 2-1 home victory over the Oilers on Oct. 27. Richards has

recorded two of his three goals in 13 career games against Edmonton

in the last two meetings.

After totaling 14 goals during a 2-0-1 stretch, the Oilers have

been outscored 11-4 during a skid that reached three with a 3-2

loss at Anaheim on Sunday. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner

scored for Edmonton, which rallied to tie it midway through the

third period before ex-Oiler Dustin Penner recorded the winner with

3:17 to play.

“We’re not happy,” Gagner said. “I mean, you’ve got to find a

way to at least get it to overtime. We played a solid game but at

the end there, we’ve just got to figure a way to shore up our

d-zone.”

After failing to convert both power-play chances Sunday, the

Oilers are 1 for 16 in the last five overall and 1 for 22 while

splitting their last six on the road. Edmonton has scored five

goals while losing three of the last four against the Kings, with

four coming on 21 power-play opportunities.

Though forward Ales Hemsky has gone without a point in six

straight against Los Angeles, the Oilers hope to have their

fifth-leading scorer back after he sat out Sunday with sore

ribs.