LOS ANGELES (TICKER) —The Edmonton Oilers try to maintain their hold on the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference when they visit the Staples Center to face the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.
Edmonton halted a nine-game winless streak (0-5-2-2) with a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday and is four points in front of the Nashville Predators. The Oilers also are six points in front of the Kings and Phoenix Coyotes and trail the seventh-place Minnesota Wild by five points.
Left wing Ryan Smyth returned Tuesday from a nine-game absence due to a left shoulder injury and scored his 20th goal in the first-period before setting up Todd Marchant’s go-ahead goal with 5:46 remaining.
Tommy Salo also returned Tuesday after missing two games with a groin injury and turned away 26 shots to improve to 21-23-7.
The Kings, who are trying to make the playoffs for the fourth straight year, have alternated wins and losses in their last 10 games.
Ziggy Palffy, whose name recently has come up in trade rumors, scored his sixth goal in as many games, but the Kings were edged, 2-1, by the Mighty Ducks on Tuesday.
Palffy has 13 goals in his last 15 games and 25 points in the last 16 contests. He has scored 30 goals for the sixth time in his career.
The Oilers have won two of the first three meetings from the Kings this season.