Oilers play Kings for 1st time since Yakupov slide

February 19, 2013, 11:19 AM

While Edmonton and Los Angeles have struggled to consistently score, the Oilers hope they’re on the verge of an offensive turnaround.

They’re looking to build on their highest-scoring game of the season while trying to win consecutive home games against the Kings for the first time in seven seasons Tuesday night.

Edmonton (6-5-3) was averaging 2.2 goals and had gone eight straight games without scoring more than three before breaking out in a 6-4 comeback win over Colorado on Saturday. Jordan Eberle and Ales Hemsky each had two goals while Magnus Paajarvi scored the tiebreaker with 1:34 left for the Oilers, who overcame a 3-0 deficit to win for the second time in three games following an 0-2-3 stretch.

“If anything, it gives our team a little confidence with our goal scoring,” said Eberle, who snapped an eight-game goal drought. “We haven’t been able to put the puck in the net and, especially my line, it felt like we cracked the door open in this game.”

Edmonton set a franchise record with 56 shots after entering the game averaging 26.9, which had been among the league’s worst marks.

“It just goes to show what shooting the puck does,” said forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who scored his first of the season.

After scoring on half of their four power-play chances Saturday, the Oilers hope they’ve jump-started a unit that went 3 for 31 in the previous seven games.

“It was a big game for us to explode like this and get these points in regulation time,” first-year Edmonton coach Ralph Krueger said.

His club’s first meeting with Los Angeles this season was a 2-1 victory Jan. 24, as rookie Nail Yakupov scored with 4.7 seconds left in the third period and Sam Gagner in overtime. Gagner’s goal came on the power play, but the teams combined to go 1 for 17.

The Oilers won for the second time in three meetings in Edmonton after the Kings had won six straight there. Edmonton last won two straight at home over Los Angeles in 2005-06.

The Kings (5-6-2) averaged 2.4 goals and still won the Stanley Cup in 2011-12, but with a condensed 2013 season, they might not have time to overcome their current offensive shortcomings.

Los Angeles entered this week as one of only two teams yet to score 30 goals and dropped to 1-5-2 when scoring two or fewer after Sunday’s 3-2 loss at Chicago. Mike Richards had a pair of power-play goals, but the Kings could not overcome a 3-0 hole in their attempt to win a season-high three in a row.

“(It’s) not the way you want to start a season, obviously,” said Richards, who has three of his four goals in the last two games. “We’ve had some ups and downs. We’ve played some really good games, and some poor games, so we have to try and find that consistency on a daily basis. It’s got to come soon.”

Two goals on four power-play chances Sunday was a bright spot for a unit that ranks near the bottom of the league, converting 15.0 percent of its opportunities.

Jonathan Quick allowed three goals for a third straight start – all losses. He could turn things around if he gets the start at Edmonton, where he’s 5-0-2 with a 1.41 goals-against average. Backup Jonathan Bernier is 2-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA against the Oilers.

Edmonton’s Devan Dubnyk was pulled Saturday after yielding three goals on 12 shots, but he’s stopped 50 of 52 while winning both home starts versus Los Angeles.

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