The Kings have woeful special teams, 29th-ranked on both the penalty-kill and the power play, while the Oilers are first on the PP and third on the PK.
The Oilers are scoring at almost a one-in-three clip on the PP, so the Kings are basically a goal down before the game starts.
And they don’t have a forward with more than two PP goals (Anze Kopitar). Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown and Tyler Toffoli don’t have any, and the season is a quarter gone.
Keys to the game for the Oilers
Taking shots on Kings
Jonathan Quick isn’t anywhere near the goalie he used to be because his body has broken down and he’s not as fast going side to side, and backup Jack Campbell, who might be the heir apparent, has an even worse save percentage than Quick.
The Kings have the poorest save percentage (.878) in the entire league, which means if you get 30 shots, you’re probably scoring four goals.
Spreading the wealth
With Markus Granlund getting his first goal of the season against the Sharks and Jujhar Khaira scoring for the second game in a row, now it’s up to Riley Sheahan and Josh Archibald to get off the schneid.
Sheahan hasn’t scored in 18 games but has done yeoman work on the PK and on faceoffs (52.7% in 237 draws).
He got his first point, setting up Khaira in San Jose. Archibald is an energizer bunny, routinely taking on bigger bodies, but he’s o-fer 14 games.
Patrick Russell, who didn’t dress in San Jose, hasn’t scored in 19.
Oil Spills podcast: Taylor Hall back to the Oilers, the trade rumour that won’t die
The rumour has been persistent since early in this NHL season, that Taylor Hall — former Edmonton Oilers star — would welcome a trade away from the New Jersey Devils, who have faltered on the ice thus far. And his rumoured preferred destination? The Oilers.
Taking on Kings D
Apart from Drew Doughty and Alec Martinez, the Kings’ two-time Stanley Cup winners, it’s slim pickings back there.
Their third-best D is Ben Hutton, who was signed as a free-agent when Vancouver didn’t want him back. Derek Forbort is good but he has been out for weeks.
They are trotting out hard-workers, but Sean Walker, Matt Roy and Kurtis MacDermid are all 7-8 NHL defenceman, certainly on a Cup contender. They work hard, but it’s tough sledding.
Can anybody stop McDavid and Draisaitl?
Connor McDavid has 16 points in the last five games which is Gretzky good. He has more points in that time than Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf has all season.
And the last time Leon Draisaitl didn’t get a point was Oct. 22 in Minnesota in a 3-0 loss, so a month ago.
He’s got the longest current point streak of 13. McDavid has six goals and 10 assists in games against Anaheim, Sharks twice, Colorado and Dallas.
Projected Oilers lineup
Oscar Klefbom • Caleb Jones
Kris Russell • Adam Larsson
Injured : Matt Benning, Brandon Manning
Projected Kings lineup
Kyle Clifford • Nikolai Prokhorkin • Matt Luff
Ben Hutton • Alec Martinez
Matt Roy • Kurtis MacDermid
Jonathan Quick • Jack Campbell
The Big Matchup: Drew Doughty vs. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl
Tough chore for the Kings defenceman, even if he relishes a challenge.
Doughty is playing 25:20 a game, fourth-most in the league. He’s always in McDavid’s grill, but since Draisaitl plays left side with the Oilers captain, he’s going down Doughty’s right side a lot.
For a team solidly minus, Doughty is only minus 8. Not bad, because he is on the ice so much against every team’s big guns.
The Oilers tag-team, of course, is the premier attraction in the NHL today, Nos. 1 and 2 in league scoring with 87 points between them.
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