LOS ANGELES – After nine consecutive wins in shootouts, the Los Angeles Kings were due. So were the Edmonton Oilers, after a franchise-record 11 straight road losses.
Lubomir Visnovsky scored in the 10th round of the tiebreaker after Edmonton blew a two-goal lead in the third period, and the league-worst Oilers stole a point from the playoff-contending Kings with a 3-2 victory Thursday night.
The Oilers, coming off a 3-2 loss at Anaheim on Wednesday night, won the second game of a back-to-back set for the first time this season in seven tries. Defenceman Denis Grebeshkov scored in the second period, Dustin Penner added a power-play goal in the third, and Jeff Deslauriers made 41 saves.
“It was a good way to end the road trip,” Penner said. “We didn’t maybe have our best, but that’s what happens when you play back-to-back games on the road. We battled hard and got the victory.”
The Oilers won outside of Rexall Place for the first time since Dec. 11, when they concluded a 5-1 trip with a 5-3 victory against St. Louis. It was only their fourth victory in their last 28 games overall (4-22-2). They are 3-4 this month after going 0-10-2 in January.
“Wins have been hard to come by this year so it was nice to happen,” coach Pat Quinn said. “Our guys battled hard, killed a penalty in overtime, and they deserved a couple of points. It was one of those nights where (Deslauriers) seemed a lot more confident than he has on some other nights. I’d like to see him with that assertiveness in his game every night.”
Dustin Brown and Ryan Smyth scored for the Kings, who have lost two in a row following a club-record nine-game winning streak.
Goalie Jonathan Quick did not play because of flu-like symptoms, so Erik Ersberg got his sixth start of the season and made 21 saves before Shawn Horcoff, Penner, Gilbert Brule and Visnovsky beat him in the tiebreaker. Ersberg is 2-6 lifetime in shootouts, compared to Quick’s 12-4 record.
“It was great to finally get a win. We needed that one, especially to close out the trip,” Brule said. “I think we’re working hard. Everyone’s working for each other. We’ve had a couple breakdowns here and there, but I think overall we’re playing pretty well right now.”
The Oilers have won their last four games at Staples Center, all by shootouts. The defeat was the Kings’ 100th in games that were decided in overtime or shootouts, and was the longest shootout in club history.
It almost didn’t get that far. Visnovsky sent Patrick O’Sullivan on a breakaway, but Ersberg robbed him with a glove save with 19.6 seconds left on the clock.
“Obviously it is tough when you have not played in a while,” Ersberg said after his first start since Jan. 11. “But my job is to stop the puck, and that is what I am trying to do. I tried and keep it simple.”
Grebeshkov, who began his NHL career in 2003-04 with Los Angeles, opened the scoring at 13:38 of the second with his sixth goal. He played the puck off the left boards, backpedaled with it and took a seemingly harmless wrist shot from just inside the blue line that got past Ersberg’s stick while Kings defenceman Matt Greene was checking Zack Stortini near the crease.
Kings forward Anze Kopitar was off for holding O’Sullivan when Penner beat Ersberg to the short side with a wrist shot from the left circle for his team-high 24th goal and a 2-0 lead.
“I don’t know what it is with our starts. Obviously, if we knew we would correct it, and do something about it,” Kopitar said. “I think it just comes down to the preparation for the game, and getting ready. When you fall behind it is tough to chase. We’ve pulled it off numerous times, but you can not win hockey games like that.”
Deslauriers got a huge break about 5 1/2 minutes into the second with the game still scoreless. Kings forward Wayne Simmonds got a perfect feed from Brad Richardson behind the net and had the goalie at his mercy – only to flip the puck over the crossbar while going for the top right corner.
But Los Angeles got on the board with 8:55 remaining, as Brown backhanded a rebound over Deslauriers after the goalie made the save on Rob Scuderi’s long slap shot through a maze of players.
Smyth, who led the Oilers in goals in seven of his 11 seasons with them, got the equalizer with 4:48 left in regulation. He converted another rebound with Deslauriers on the seat of his pants after the goalie stopped Sean O’Donnell’s one-timer from the right point. It was Smyth’s 19th goal.
NOTES: The Kings outshot Edmonton 36-16 after the first period. … The only other time Ersberg played against the Oilers was Dec. 5, 2008, when they scored three goals on 13 shots against him in the first period to erase a 3-0 deficit and won 5-4 in a shootout at Los Angeles. Jason LaBarbera was charged with the loss. … Kings LW Rich Clune made his NHL debut.