Edmonton Oilers vs. Los Angeles Kings – March 30, 2012
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins wasted no time getting the puck to the net in tonight’s game against the Stars, forcing Jonathan Quick to make his first save only twenty seconds in. Nugent-Hopkins is tied for 2nd in rookie scoring with Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog (both 49 points), right behind Adam Henrique of the New Jersey Devils (50 points). Remember, he’s played substantially less games than both of them this season. Edmonton’s youngest Ryan couldn’t open the scoring that early, but the Stars could.
At 0:52, Anze Kopitar managed to get the puck through traffic and Oilers goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin to put the visitors up by one. Seconds later, Matt Greene was called for hooking on Ryan Smyth, and the Edmonton’s second-best power play went to work. That’s when Jordan Eberle scored his tenth power play goal this year off of a tic-tac-toe play from Jeff Petry and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. LA went straight back to the Oilers net to pressure Khabibulin some more, but the score remained 1-1 with, yes, fifty-seven minutes left.
6:22 marked Sam Gagner’s holding penalty on which the Kings 23rd-ranked (no, that isn’t quite as impressive, you’re right) power play got their first chance of the night. A chance is all it was, though, because really, the Oilers’ penalty kill was just that much better than the Kings’ man advantage in that situation.
Anze Kopitar was assessed a tripping minor with just under ten minutes to go, and Edmonton was given another chance to better their power play. 43 seconds in, Willie Mitchell’s around-the-boards pass made it past Jeff Petry to Mike Richards, who sprung on a breakaway and backhanded the puck past Khabibulin for his second goal in his last thirty-two games. The rest of the penalty was killed off, along with the next few minutes, without a change in scoring.
It wasn’t until 18:25 that Ryan Jones was sent to the box for roughing after former Oiler Jarret Stoll got a shoulder in Jones’ face; Jones retaliated by knocking Stoll’s helmet off and was given the two-minute minor. The Kings couldn’t capitalize on the power play in the first, but needn’t worry as they were set to start the second period with one extra man on the ice. It was a well-needed break for the Oilers, who hadn’t recorded a single shot since Jordan Eberle’s goal at 1:34.
The rest of the Kings’ power play didn’t manage to put up any additional offense before Ryan Jones was released from the penalty box early in the second. With only fifteen minutes left in the middle frame, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was sent to the box for hooking. The Kings made it 3-1 late in the power play as Drew Doughty’s shot was deflected over the shoulder of Nikolai Khabibulin and in. The goal was originally credited to Dustin Brown before being given back to Doughty.
With nine minutes left in the second period, Ladislav Smid was announced officially out for the rest of the game due to a neck injury. Fifteen seconds later, Justin Williams was given a penalty for interfering with Khabibulin. Seconds in, Jeff Petry was struck in the face by the puck as Anze Kopitar’s clearing attempt went off the glass and deflected into Petry’s face. He stayed down for long minutes, being attended to by a trainer, before leaving the game. The Oilers’ power play had over a minute to continue their attempt to cut the Kings’ lead to one, but the absence of their lead power play goal scorer, Taylor Hall, showed as they were unable to produce anything.
At 15:36, Andy Sutton was called for boarding and the Kings got their fourth power play chance of the night. As far as uneventful power plays go, this was one of many as it vanished without a trace.
The Oilers managed to pressure Quick as the second period winded down, but the Kings goaltender stood strong against their multiple chances.
Shots after 40 were 17-10 in favour of the Kings, and the Oilers remained down two goals and two defensemen.
It was at 1:22 that Ales Hemsky was given the first penalty of the third period – and what felt like the fiftieth of the game – for hooking. Hemsky had to sit for the full two minutes (bummer, right?) as the Kings were unable to extend their lead before the five-minute mark came and left. A scrum in front of the net took place moments later, resulting in two-minute minors for Corey Potter and Colin Fraser. Potter’s was for roughing while Fraser’s was for slashing.
Jordan Eberle took the puck to the net early on, creating what would have been a great chance if it weren’t for the multiple LA players checking him like there was no tomorrow. Consequently, Eberle couldn’t manage another goal. In fact, it was the Kings who capitalized on the 4-on-4, as Matt Greene’s rebound off of Khabibulin’s pads went to Alec Martinez, who managed his fifth of the season.
With just over four minutes left in the final period, Nikolai Khabibulin took a huge risk in stopping a Kings scoring chance by coming way out of his crease to stop a puck from getting near him. The Oilers netminder skated over fifteen feet out to stop Kyle Clifford and skated back to the net with a bit of swagger in his step as he made the save.
Moments later, Ryan Smyth and Brad Richardson dropping the gloves set off the rest of the players and a scrum took place after the next face off. Smyth and Hordichuk both left afterwards – Smyth’s double minor would have lasted longer than the period itself, while Hordichuk was given a ten-minute misconduct – while Hartikainen was sent to the box to serve Smyth’s penalty. Richardson was able to get away with a slashing minor and LA went on the power play, again. I really don’t even know why these guys were so rattled, seriously.
The score was 4-1 LA as the third period ended; this win carried them to 90 points and third place in the Western Conference.
Also, shots were 32-14 in favour of the Kings, three of whom (Richards, Kopitar, King) were given the honour of first, second and third stars, respectively.
Edmonton Oil Kings at Kootenay Ice – March 29th, 2012
Grab your brooms, ladies and gentlemen, we have a sweep.
The Edmonton Oil Kings went into last night’s game holding a 3-0 lead over the Ice’s heads, and were looking to complete a close to picture-perfect first round series. Thanks to a goal from captain Mark Pysyk and two from winger Rhett Rachinski, along with goalie Laurent Brossoit who only allowed one goal all night, the Oil Kings managed a 3-1 lead to advance to the next round. No Edmonton players received a ‘star’, though, which I guess is fair since those three stars are all the Ice got, at the end of the day. For the second round, it’s a true Battle Royale (no, not really. That movie sounds creepy as hell, seriously) between the Edmonton Oil Kings and the Brandon Wheat Kings as they fight for a spot in the Eastern Conference Final.