This is the second of three meetings between Los Angeles and Edmonton this season. On January 24, the Oilers defeated the Kings 2-1 in overtime at Rexall Place. After tonight, the two teams will meet at Staples Center on Saturday, April 6.
Lots more after the jump…
Edmonton has won two of three after going winless in a 0-2-3 stretch. The only current playoff teams the Oilers have defeated this season are Vancouver and Phoenix. In their most recent outing, they took a team-record 56 shots on goal and erased a 3-0 deficit – and a 4-3 deficit after two – with three third period goals to defeat Colorado 6-4. Taylor Hall had three assists and took eight shots in the game, while Jordan Eberle took seven. Nikholai Khabibulin replaced Devan Dubnyk in goal for the start of the second period and stopped 16 of 17 shots for the victory.
The 40-year old Khabibulin will draw the start tonight and is 20-12-1 lifetime against Los Angeles with one tie. He has posted a 2.45 goals against average and .913 save percentage in his career against the Kings. In his last outing against L.A., he stopped 28 of 32 shots in a 4-1 Kings victory at Rexall Place on March 30, 2012.
Los Angeles is expected to go with Jonathan Quick in net. Quick is 7-1-4 lifetime against Edmonton with a 1.63 GAA and .938 Sv%. In his outing at Rexall Place on January 24, Quick stopped 37 of 39 shots through 63 minutes before he was beaten on Sam Gagner’s game-winner.
Tuesday’s game is the third game of a season-long five-game homestand for the Oilers, who are 1-1-0 in the stretch thus far. Tonight marks Los Angeles’ first game following six consecutive games against the Central Division, a stretch in which they went 3-3-0. L.A. is 1-1-1 against the Northwest Division thus far, defeating Vancouver, losing in regulation to Colorado and losing in overtime to Edmonton.
Rankings and Statistics:
Goals/Game: LAK – 27 / 2.23; EDM – 24 / 2.43
Goals Against/Game: LAK – t-16 / 2.69; EDM – 15 / 2.64
Power Play: LAK – 24 / 15.0%; EDM – 7 / 23.9%
Penalty Kill: LAK – 18 / 81.0%; EDM – 4 / 86.8%
Shots/Game: LAK – t-14 / 29.2; EDM – t-16 / 29.0
Shots Against/Game: LAK – 2 / 24.9; EDM – 29 / 33.3
Faceoffs: LAK – 22 / 48.8%; EDM – 28 / 45.9%
Projected Lines – Los Angeles
Kyle Clifford – Anze Kopitar – Dustin Brown
Dwight King – Mike Richards – Jeff Carter
Dustin Penner – Jarret Stoll – Justin Williams
Jordan Nolan – Colin Fraser– Trevor Lewis
Keaton Ellerby – Drew Doughty
Rob Scuderi – Slava Voynov
Jake Muzzin – Davis Drewiske
Notes: Significant changes in the Kings’ lineup have occurred for the second time in two and a half weeks, with the largest adjustment being Kyle Clifford slotted alongside Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown on the club’s top line. Mike Richards and Jeff Carter are interchangeable on the second line; expect Carter (53.5% on faceoffs; right shot) to step in for Richards (45.3%; left shot) occasionally, as both are more comfortable going with a forehand on their strong sides. On the fourth line, Colin Fraser could slot to the left wing to allow Trevor Lewis to step in at center, though I’m projecting Fraser, who hasn’t played since the loss in Nashville on February 7, to see the majority of the time at center. As always, line pairings are educated assessments and not definite alignments.
Projected Lines – Edmonton
Taylor Hall – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
Teemu Hartikainen – Sam Gagner – Ales Hemsky
Ryan Smyth – Eric Belanger – Nail Yakupov
Ben Eager – Chris VandeVelde – Magnus Paajarvi
Nick Schultz – Justin Schultz
Ryan Whitney – Jeff Petry
Ladislav Smid – Mark Fistric
Notes: Nail Yakupov also operates a point on the Oilers’ top power play unit. Edmonton’s special teams are strong, with the power play ranking seventh in the league and the penalty kill ranking fourth. As always, line pairings are educated assessments and not definite alignments.