Alexander Frolov had a goal and two assists as the Los Angeles Kings rallied to beat the listless Oilers 7-4 on Thursday night. Dustin Brown, Rob Blake, Lubomir Visnovsky, Alyn McCauley, Sean Avery and Brian Willsie also scored for the Kings (14-20-5), who stormed back with five unanswered goals after trailing 4-2 early in the second period.
Smyth had a power-play goal in his first game back after missing nearly a month with a fractured thumb. Despite sitting out most of December, Smyth still leads the team with 17 goals.
While Smyth showed little rust, the Oilers played a mostly dreadful game in their return from a five-day break.
“Obviously we still had the turkey legs,” said Smyth, who led the team with seven shots on goal. “We were playing a pond hockey game there and with the offensive power they have over there they were able to capitalize on their chances.”
Daniel Tjarnqvist, Jarret Stoll and Fernando Pisani also scored for Edmonton (18-16-2), which squandered its chance to reclaim first place in the Northwest Division standings.
Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish lambasted his team for its atrocious performance.
“It was unbelievable,” said MacTavish. “Just painful to watch. We’ve been poor in our own end for the majority of the losses we’ve had in the last little while.
“We’re back playing the way we used to pre-lockout. We were brutal. We were dangerous in both ends and it ended up costing us again.”
The Oilers have dropped six of their last eight games, a tailspin goaltender Dwayne Roloson attributed to a team-wide lack of concentration.
“As a team we are working hard,” said Roloson, who finished with 31 saves in defeat. “We just aren’t working smart. One of the reasons we had success in the playoffs last year is because we were outsmarting teams and we have to get back to that.”
The Kings won their second straight to creep to within five points of the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference, a four-way tie that includes the Oilers.
“We have to keep (winning),” said Kings head coach Marc Crawford. “Our team has to find a way
to eke out wins and scrape and claw our way back into the race. The only way to do that is to put a streak together.
“There are a lot of good teams, especially in the Northwest and you have to be at the top of your game to beat them.”
Frolov said the victory was doubly important because it came against the Oilers.
“Edmonton is the type of team we are hoping to catch for the playoffs so we were really prepared for this game,” said Frolov.
The Oilers opened the scoring less than five minutes in when their league-best penalty killing unit contributed offensively. Jarret Stoll knocked the puck loose behind the Kings net and it went in front to Pisani, who fired a wrist shot past Los Angeles goalie Mathieu Garon.
But the Kings countered less than two minutes later on Brown’s power-play goal, his 10th of the season. They made it 2-1 five minutes later when Craig Conroy sent the puck to the front of the Oilers net and Willsie tipped it over Roloson.
The Oilers had a glorious chance to get back into the game with 3:11 to go in the first when Scott Thornton jumped Tjarnqvist and was assessed seven minutes in penalties.
Tjarnqvist scored with just 16 seconds left to play in the first to tie the score 2-2 before Smyth scored early in the second with five seconds left in Thornton’s lengthy penalty and Brent Sopel also in the box.
Stoll made it 4-2 for Edmonton just 32 seconds later with another power-play goal.
The Kings countered with a power-play goal of their own later in the period when Blake scored the first of three second-period goals by the visitors and five straight overall by Los Angeles.
After Frolov tied the score 4-4, Avery put the Kings ahead to stay with 1:59 remaining in the second.
Visnovsky and McCauley, into the empty net, scored for the Kings in the third.
Though Roloson has been shaky of late, allowing 16 goals in his last three starts, MacTavish didn’t blame him for Thursday’s loss.
“A four-by-six sheet of plywood couldn’t have won us the game with chances we were giving up tonight,” he said.
Los Angeles returns to action Friday, playing the second of a three-game road swing in Calgary. The Oilers play host to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.
Notes: Thursday’s game marked a milestone for Blake, who played in his 700th career game with the Kings.