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Edmonton Oilers Game Day: Los Angeles Kings struggling all over

 Edmonton Oilers James Neal scores on Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick
Edmonton Oilers James Neal scores on Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick

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.

Edmonton Oilers at Los Angeles Kings : 8:30 pm. , TV: Sportsnet , radio: 630 CHED

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.

Host Craig Ellingson talks to hockey beat writer Derek Van Diest about the rumours and what a Taylor Hall trade to Edmonton would mean for the team.

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

Forward lines

Leon Draisaitl Connor McDavid Zack Kassian

Jujhar Khaira Ryan Nugent-Hopkins James Neal

Joakim Nygard • Riley Sheahan • Josh Archibald

Markus Granlund • Gaetan Haas Alex Chiasson

Defence pairings

Darnell Nurse Ethan Bear

Oscar Klefbom • Caleb Jones

Kris Russell • Adam Larsson


Mikko Koskinen Mike Smith

Injured : Matt Benning, Brandon Manning

Projected Kings lineup

Forward lines

Alex Iafallo Anze Kopitar Dustin Brown

Jeff Carter Mike Amadio Tyler Toffoli

Adrian Kempe Blake Lizotte • Austin Wagner

Kyle Clifford • Nikolai Prokhorkin • Matt Luff

Defence pairings

Sean Walker Drew Doughty

Ben Hutton • Alec Martinez

Matt Roy • Kurtis MacDermid


Jonathan Quick • Jack Campbell

Injured: Derek Forbort , Trevor Lewis

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.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019

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