Kings look to slow surging Oilers in pivotal game – Press Telegram

In a crucial four-point match, the Kings will welcome the Edmonton Oilers into the city on Thursday night, the team they are chasing a lone point for second place in the Pacific Division.

Several injured Kings were advancing towards the return, although coach Todd McLellan did not commit to his formation on Wednesday. Wings Dustin Brown and Brendan Lemieux, as well as defender Matt Roy participated in training, while winger Andreas Athanasiou participated in a more limited way.

“We can win and lose some (bodies) as it goes,” McLellan said. “We will probably have to make a decision, some decisions will be made by us in terms of blows and bruises.”

The Kings saw renewed vigor in the special teams, especially the penalty shootout, which was the eighth most effective unit in the NHL since March 1.

“The penalty is getting better. The power play has had a small spike,” McLellan said. “Now he’s back, something, and he needs to get better.”

The Kings have a chance to tie the series of the season in their last game with Edmonton (41-25-5). In the first three clashes, the Kings (38-24-10) gained confidence of a 5-1 victory at Edmonton on December 5th but lost at home by a similar margin, 5-2, on February 15th. The Kings struggled with a 3-1 loss to force a shootout last Wednesday in Canada, but Edmonton prevailed.

In the latest Kings game, 3-2 defeat to Calgary, Adrian Kempe turned on the lamp twice. McLellan noted that while Kempe has recently had a double-digit drop in score, he had otherwise been considerably more consistent and, as a result, much more productive this season. He has joined Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli as the Kings’ only 30-goal scorers since the 2009-10 season.

One constant, apparently since their two stars entered the league, has been the Edmonton duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. They were the first two to score 100 points this season. McDavid, 25, crossed the line against the Kings last week and Draisaitl, 26, broke the mark against the Ducks on Sunday. This was McDavid’s fifth 100-point season and Draisaitl’s fourth. McDavid was robbed of another: when the game was suspended in 2019-20, he was sitting with 97 points, although last year’s truncated campaign did not deny it as he added 105 points in 56 games.

The two members of the Oilers’ tandem scored in the rules and then again in the penalty shootout against the Kings last week. McDavid had two points and Draisaitl added another. They did the same in the February clash, although both played goalless in the December match.

Kings look to slow surging Oilers in pivotal game – Press Telegram Source link Kings look to slow surging Oilers in pivotal game – Press Telegram

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