EDMONTON – Missing leading scorers Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams, the Los Angeles Kings found a way to win with defence.
Jonathan Bernier stopped 32 shots to record his third shutout of the season as the Kings beat the last-place Edmonton Oilers 2-0 Tuesday.
Dustin Brown had both goals for the Kings (44-26-6), who have won four in a row and have gone 8-1-1 in their last 10 games.
The Kings moved out of a tie with Nashville and remained one point back of fourth-place Phoenix in the Western Conference.
“For the most part we gave up few chances tonight,” Brown said. “(Oilers rookie Jordan) Eberle had a good one in the third that he we needed a good save on but other than that there wasn’t much. Even with (Kopitar and Williams) in the lineup, our success has been in the defensive zone.”
But even with a strong defence, goals will need to come from somewhere and former Oiler Dustin Penner admits he feels some pressure to find a way to contribute more than he has since his deadline day trade.
“Everybody should have a bit more pressure on them,” he said. “When you lose two guys like that, as a team you have to play better offensively. We are pretty sound defensively and in net but it looks like we will have to score by committee now.”
The Oilers (23-42-11) are winless in their last 10 games—their worst losing skid since a 13-game slide last season.
“We didn’t do a great job keeping the pace in the first period,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. “We needed to be better and had we done that the outcome could have been a little bit different. We certainly gave it a good try at the end.”
Edmonton’s Nikolai Khabibulin was the busiest of the two goalies during the scoreless first period. Khabibulin faced 18 shots, the best of which was a partial breakaway stop on Kings captain Brown.
The Kings finally broke the deadlock five minutes into the second period as Trevor Lewis slid a puck under Oiler defender Ladislav Smid to Brown, who had an easy tap-in for his 26th goal of the season.
Los Angeles used the same combination to go up 2-0 with five minutes remaining in the second as Lewis stripped Jason Strudwick of the puck and fed it in front to a streaking Brown for his second of the game.
Bernier made his biggest save of the night eight minutes into the third period as he made a quick glove save on a shot from the slot by Eberle.
Edmonton came close again with four minutes left as rookie Teemu Hartikainen rattled a puck off the post.
The Kings narrowly outshot Edmonton 33-32.
Before the game, the Oilers honoured long-time radio play-by-play man Rod Phillips with a ceremony that included a banner raised in his honour.
Phillips called the Oilers’games for 37 years including the team’s stint in the World Hockey Association. He called his 3,542nd and final game on Tuesday.
Both teams are back in action on Thursday as the Kings are in Vancouver and the Oilers travel to Minnesota.
NOTES: Kopitar suffered a broken ankle in Colorado on Saturday. The news came just five days after losing Williams the second-leading scorer.…Edmonton was without Shawn Horcoff, Sam Gagner, Ryan Whitney, Taylor Hall and Ales Hemsky.…Former Oiler Dustin Penner made his first appearance as a King since being traded by Edmonton at the trade deadline. Penner has just two goals and four assists in his first 13 games for L.A.