LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Los Angeles Kings had their highest shots total in four-plus seasons—and still had to go to a shootout to pin the loss on Richard Bachman in his Edmonton Oilers debut.
Anze Kopitar scored the deciding goal in the tiebreaker, helping the Kings beat the Oilers 2-1 on Sunday night for their seventh victory in nine games.
“When a guy like that gets a call up and gets a chance to play, you expect his best effort,” Kings forward Jeff Carter said. “We tried to make it as tough for him as possible, getting bodies and pucks to the net. I thought he played a heck of a game, but we got the two points.”
The Kings outshot Edmonton 48-18 in regulation and overtime. Nail Yakupov scored for the Oilers on a power play in the second period and Mike Richards tied it less than 14 minutes later.
The Kings are 5-0 in games that have gone past regulation. Jonathan Quick improved to 4-0 in shootouts, having stopped 10 of 11 shots he’s faced in tiebreakers. In 2010-11, he led the NHL with 10 shootout wins and had an .818 save percentage.
Bachman made a career-high 47 saves after getting recalled Sunday from Oklahoma City of the American Hockey League. The three-year veteran played his first 32 NHL games with the Dallas Stars, posting a 14-10 record and a 2.94 goals-against average. Last April 9, he stopped all 22 shots he faced against the Kings in relief of an injured Kari Lehtonen and got credit for a 5-1 victory at Dallas.
The Kings’ shot total was their highest since April 10, 2010, when they had 55 against the Oilers’ Devan Dubnyk in a 4-3 shootout loss at Los Angeles.
“The first period was pretty routine, in terms of shots against (10),” Bachman said. “They had a couple of long shots, but I was able to see them and that helped me get into a rhythm and get into a groove out there. Guys in this league are too good, so you can’t relax too much. You’ve got to stay alert, because if you get too comfortable, they’ll make you pay.”
Another potential goal by Richards was disallowed by referee Mike Leggo with 6:08 left in the third period. Bachman made the initial save on Carter’s 25-foot wrist shot from the slot, and teammate Matt Frattin made contact with him just before Richards fired the rebound over the fallen goaltender. But there was no penalty called on Frattin.
“I felt like I got hit pretty good there,” Backman said. “Obviously, I couldn’t tell if he was pushed into me or not. But from my perspective, he was driving the crease pretty hard and knocked me down, and I wasn’t able to move or control the puck. So it was a good call.”
Kings centre Jordan Nolan, who hadn’t had gotten a penalty in his first 10 games, brawled with Luke Gazdic at 2:09 of the second period—just 3 seconds after Edmonton’s Ryan Jones duked it out with Kyle Clifford. Kings defenceman Jake Muzzin was sent off for interference 20 seconds later, and the Oilers opened the scoring on the ensuing power play as Yakupov converted a rebound of Anton Belov’s 55-foot one-timer.
Bachman, playing because of Dubnyk’s sore ankle, stopped the first 19 shots he faced before the Kings tied it at 16:58 of the second period. Carter beat Belov to a loose puck behind the Oilers’ net and fed it out to Muzzin, whose one-timer was stopped by Bachman before Richards converted the rebound.
Edmonton had a power play for 4 full minutes in the first, as Drew Doughty got a hooking penalty exactly two minutes after Jarret Stoll was sent off for the same infraction. The Oilers came up empty that time and finished 1 for 4 with the man advantage, after coming in a league-worst 1 for 21 on the road.
It was a bumpy opening period for the Oilers. Center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins crumpled to the ice after a knee-on-knee hit by Clifford at the 7:44 mark and remained there for a couple of anxious moments before he was assisted to the bench by a couple of teammates. But he was back in time for the start of the Oilers’ first power play.
Just 1:09 after the hit on Nugent-Hopkins, defenceman Ladislav Smid went crashing into the back of the net in the Oilers’ zone and knocked it off its moorings after successfully defending a 2-on-1 rush by Carter and Clifford.
NOTES: The Kings are following the lead of the Clippers, and will be covering up the Lakers’ championship banners and retired numbers with gigantic photo banners of their own players along the west wall of Staples Center. The change is expected to take place in the next couple of weeks, according to a member of the building crew who received a memo to that effect. … The Oilers missed the playoffs in each of the previous seven seasons after losing the Stanley Cup finals to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. It’s the longest current drought in the league. … The Kings are 13-1-6 against Edmonton since the start of the 2008-09 season. The only regulation loss during that stretch was a 3-0 decision at Los Angeles on Nov. 3, 2011, when they took 19 shots at Nikolai Khabibulin and 22 more that were blocked by his teammates.