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.