Game 12; 8-4-0
LOS ANGELES – In my preview, I discussed the goaltending woes of the Edmonton Oilers. Sunday evening at Staples Center proved that the Oilers have anything but problems between the pipes – even if it was just for one night.
On a night when they honored Jays Wells as part of their Legends Series, the Los Angeles Kings wore their vintage purple-and-gold uniforms hoping to build on their seven-goal output last game versus Phoenix. Unfortunately, that didn’t go as planned.
Prior to the game, Edmonton netminder Devan Dubnyk discovered he was unable to play due to an injury. But instead of starting backup (and former King) Jason Labarbera, the Oilers went with Richard Bachman who had success against Los Angeles from his days with the Dallas Stars. Sunday night proved to be no different as Bachman, much to everyone’s surprise, stole the show.
The Kings opened the game determined to take an early lead on their new division rivals and with 10 shots in the opening period, it looked as though it was just a matter of time before the silver-and-black took control of the contest. Bachman, however, had other plans as he stopped all 10 shots he faced in the first before stopping another 11 in the second.
After a scoreless first period where they only managed five shots, the Oilers opened the scoring thanks to sophomore Nail Yakupov who notched his first of the year past a sprawling Jonathan Quick. Despite falling behind, however, the Kings’ momentum did not waver.
While continuing their onslaught of shots, Los Angeles could not solve Bachman. That is until the 16:58 mark when Mike Richards wristed his second past the Oilers backstop to tie the game. While he didn’t get an assist on the tally, Matt Frattin certainly deserves an abundance of credit for starting the play that led to traffic in front of the net and ultimately, the goal. Instead, Jake Muzzin and Jeff Carter were credited with the assists.
In the third, the Kings were as determined as ever to win the game and their 23-6 outshooting of the Oilers proved that. But again, Bachman stood tall keeping the game tied and after a Mike Richards goal was disallowed due to goaltender interference, the game went to the shootout after an uneventful overtime period.
After outshooting the Oilers 48-18, it seemed as if nothing could give the Kings the two points. However, it was Richards scoring to open the shootout only to be answered by a tally by Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle.
After both teams exchanged saves, Anze Kopitar scored to put Los Angeles out in front. Then, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins missed the net on his attempt, clinching a very hard-fought and deserved win for the Los Angeles Kings.
While they only had four penalties, the Kings did allow a power play goal. As for their own power play, the Kings seemed to revert back to old habits as they were 0-for-5 on the night. Then again, like their overall performance, a lack of effort certainly can’t be blamed as the silver-and-black simply ran into a netminder who had one heck of a night despite being in a losing effort.
While Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar each had four shots, Justin Williams led the way with a staggering seven followed by Dustin Brown with six.
Despite their lack of offense, Sunday night’s game was in no way a showcase of one team taking a weaker team lightly. This was, as I said, a matter of running into a hot goaltender which, while unfortunate, proved the resilience of the Los Angeles Kings for a second-straight game.
With two-straight wins, the Kings now make the first trip of the year to Glendale where they will meet the always-popular Phoenix Coyotes.