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.