LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Edmonton Oilers had won each of their previous five games at Staples Center, all of them in shootouts. Jonathan Quick and Jarret Stoll weren’t about to let them do it again.
Stoll scored the deciding goal in the sixth round of the tiebreaker and Quick made 27 saves, leading the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-2 victory Thursday night.
“Five straight shootout losses to the Edmonton Oilers at home? That’s a heck of a stat,” said Justin Williams, who scored a power-play goal for Los Angeles.
“Going into a track meet with those guys and then going into a skills competition is tough because they’ve got a lot of one-on-one talent and a lot of their guys make some great moves on shootouts.
“It didn’t look good there early, but Jon was able to shut the door for us. We’re 4-0 in shootouts this year, and the main reason is Quickie.”
Defenceman Jack Johnson had a goal and an assist for Los Angeles, back home after a five-game trip in which he posted two shutouts. The Kings are 12-2-1 at Staples Center, matching the best home start in franchise history.
Terry Murray recorded his 100th regular-season victory in his 197th game as Kings coach, breaking Tom Webster’s franchise record for fastest to triple digits (211 games). It took Murray 194 games to reach that figure with Washington, and just 175 to get 100 wins with Philadelphia. In Florida, the Panthers won 79 of his 200 games with them.
“Coaches win because they’ve have pretty good players,” said Murray, who last season guided the Kings to their first playoff berth since 2002. “We’ve got good character here. You’ve got a leadership group that has been put in place through (general manager) Dean Lombardi, the management staff and the scouts. They’ve assembled a great group of guys.
“That locker room is as close and tight as any team that I’ve ever been around. They really care about each other and work hard for each other. It comes down to the players looking each other in the eye and saying: ‘I’m going to play hard for you tonight.’ That’s what’s been taking place here over the three years I’ve been here. And when you have that kind of an attitude coming into games, you’re going to get your share of wins.”
Rookie Taylor Hall scored a power-play goal and Jean-Francois Jacques had his first goal of the season for the Oilers, who have the worst record in the Western Conference. Devan Dubnyk made 27 saves. The last time the Oilers visited Staples Center, the Kings peppered Dubnyk with 55 shots in a 4-3 loss.
“It hurts to lose,” Dubnyk said. “But I think if you look at the game, there aren’t really any complaints about us by the way we played or the effort. We lost by one goal the last game and in a shootout tonight. We played hard both games, and we’ve been getting better all year. So if we continue to do that, we can beat these teams.”
Jacques put the Oilers ahead 2-1, redirecting Theo Peckham’s long wrist shot past Quick’s glove with 15:35 left in the third period. But the lead lasted just 20 seconds as Johnson beat Dubnyk to the stick side with a wrist shot from the left circle.
Hall, the first overall pick in the draft, opened the scoring at 1:39 of the second period with his 11th goal. But Los Angeles answered at 8:31 of the second against a penalty-killing unit that came in with the worst overall percentage in the league (71.3).
Johnson started the play with a long clearing pass from his own zone that Handzus deftly redirected toward a speeding Williams while standing at the Edmonton blue line with his back to him. Williams got past Ladislav Smid in the left circle and beat Dubnyk to the glove side from the edge of the crease for his 13th goal while Linus Omark was off for high-sticking Rob Scuderi.
“We do work on that play,” Williams said. “We try to build a little speed and have the other guy posting up. But I can’t tell you how hard that play actually is—to slow down a pass the perfect amount for me to skate into it going at that speed. That’s just a read by him. Hats off to the coaching staff and to Michal for making a good play. That goal is because of him.”
NOTES: Marco Sturm played his second game for the Kings since joining them in a trade from Boston, and his first before the home crowd. Sturm, an all-star in 1998-99 with San Jose, never had much success as a visiting player in Los Angeles. In 18 career games against theKings—including five at the Forum—he had only two goals and one assist, averaged 1.4 shots per contest and had a plus-minus rating of minus-7.