Kings beat Oilers 4-1 to take Pacific leadLos Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, front, makes a glove save against Edmonton Oilers' Lennart Petrell during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Edmonton, Alberta, Friday, March 30, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, John Ulan)
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) The Los Angeles Kings pushed aside the Edmonton Oilers to take the Pacific Division lead.
Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist in the Kings' 4-1 victory Friday night.
''We came out strong right off the hop and kind of denied that loose game that they wanted to play,'' Kopitar said. ''We came out and played a good system game and it led to all of the breakdowns on their part. It was good for us to make it a little easier on Quick so he doesn't have to bail us out every time.''
Mike Richards, Drew Doughty and Alec Martinez also scored to help the Kings jump from eighth place to the third seed in the Western Conference.
''We got the two points. That's what we want,'' Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. ''All of the games are really important right now. It was a funny first period. They have all that skill over there with those kids and they were wheeling and dealing and we had to make some adjustments to handle them.''
Jonathan Quick made 13 saves, allowing only Jordan Eberle's power-play goal.
''They were stronger and more determined than us,'' Oilers coach Tom Renney said. ''The Kings are a desperate team. They were right there on the cusp of being in the playoffs and they are playing with every bit of urgency you can possibly imagine. And we're hanging on for dear life trying not to embarrass ourselves. When you do that, that's exactly what happens.''
Los Angeles scored on its first shot of the game when Dwight King took a long shot that Kopitar tipped through Nikolai Khabibulin's legs at 52 seconds for his 25th goal.
Edmonton countered at 1:34 on a power play when Eberle snapped a shot from the right faceoff dot that went just inside of the post past Quick. Eberle has 33 goals this season. Rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins picked up an assist for his 50th point.
The Kings made it 2-1 midway through the first on Richard's short-handed breakaway. Jeff Petry missed the puck at the point on an Edmonton power play, and Richards sped away and beat Khabibulin with a backhander.
The Kings took a 3-1 lead 6:44 into the second period when Doughty's power-play point shot hit a defender's and deflected past Khabibulin. Martinez scored in the third period.
Notes: It was the third of four meetings between the teams. They will play again in Los Angeles on Monday night. Edmonton won the first two games. ... The Oilers recalled forward Magnus Paajarvi from Oklahoma City of the American Hockey League, but had to send him back after being informed they had exceeded the number of call-ups allowed after the trade deadline.