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Edmonton Oilers hold off L.A. Kings to win 5-4 in shootout

LOS ANGELES - Since joining the Edmonton Oilers, goaltender Mathieu Garon has been perfect when it comes to shootouts.

Garon improved to 11-0 in the tiebreaker format, stopping two of three shots, and made 32 more saves in regulation to help beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-4 after his former team made a stunning comeback from a 3-0 deficit.

"When you're up by three goals, you're supposed to win those games," said Garon, who signed with Edmonton as a free agent in July 2007. "Tonight we made it harder on ourselves and put ourselves in trouble. But we bounced back, and now we know that these kind of things can happen."

Marc Pouliot and Ales Hemsky scored on backhanders in the shootout after Dustin Penner tied it with 11:37 left in the third period. Pouliot, Andrew Cogliano and Ethan Moreau scored first-period goals for the Oilers, who won for the first time in 10 tries this season when trailing after two periods.

"We just needed to get some composure and go back at them. Then we came out and stormed them in the third period until we tied it," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said.

Jarret Stoll and Alexander Frolov had power-play goals 3:22 apart to cap a four-goal second period by the Kings, who also got goals from Anze Kopitar and Michal Handzus. Jason LaBarbera made 15 saves in each of the last two regulation periods and another in overtime after Edmonton scored on three of 13 shots against Erik Ersberg through the first 20 minutes.

The Kings responded to coach Terry Murray's goalie switch by scoring all their goals during an 8:31 span. Handzus and Kopitar found the net about two minutes apart early in the period before Los Angeles' power play converted on the Oilers' first two penalties of the game to grab a 4-3 lead.

"It was a wild game in a lot of respects," MacTavish said. "But generally, I wasn't all that unhappy with the game - even in the second period when they scored four in a row. I mean, we had guys in the right spots and had lots of guys above the puck, but we just weren't competitive enough in those spots. We got sloppy and lost some critical battles in critical areas."

Handzus triggered the Kings' rally by taking the puck off Cogliano's stick at the left of the net. The puck caromed to rookie Oscar Moller, whose one-timer was stopped by Garon before Handzus banged home the rebound at 1:53 of the period. Kopitar scored on another rebound, after Dustin Brown did a 360-degree turn to keep the puck away from Erik Cole and threw a backhander on net.

Stoll tied it 3-all at 7:02, beating Garon high to the stick side with a wrist shot after Shawn Horcoff was penalized for high-sticking Drew Doughty.

Frolov, who has scored in six of his last seven games, put Los Angeles ahead at 10:24 after defenceman Sheldon Souray failed to clear a rebound of Kyle Quincey's shot. Frolov's 11th goal came while Penner was off for tripping Kyle Calder.

"I don't know what happened, but it was a totally different game," Garon said. "In the first period we were all over them and in the second they came out real strong. They scored an early goal, and after that they were just flying."

On Edmonton's first goal, Handzus failed to put a body on Cole in the left corner and the Oilers' forward displayed some fancy stickhandling before setting up Moreau for a one-timer.

Pouliot made it 2-0 at 14:31, jamming the puck past Ersberg in tight quarters while getting knocked down from behind by Kopitar at the edge of the crease. Cogliano set up Pouliot's third goal of the campaign with a pass from behind the net, then scored his eighth on a rebound at 18:44 of the first.

On Edmonton's third goal, Pouliot's wrist shot from the left point struck Ersberg in the chest and the puck dropped at the goalie's skates - leaving Cogliano with an open net while defenceman Drew Doughty went after fellow rookie Rob Schremp at the left of the crease. The goal came at the exact moment a hooking penalty against Los Angeles rookie Wayne Simmonds expired.

"We were all over them in the first 10 minutes, but they got some goals," Brown said. "We didn't really feel like we played that bad of a period to be down 3-0. We just came in here and said there is a lot of game left, and I think we showed a lot coming back and taking the game over. We stuck to our game plan, put the work in and got rewarded."

Notes: D Lubomir Visnovsky, who spent his first seven NHL seasons with the Kings, returned to Staples Center for the first time since getting traded for Stoll and Matt Greene on June 29. ... LaBarbera came in 4-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average lifetime against the Oilers. ... Garon is the third former Kings goalie to have started against them this season. They beat St. Louis' Manny Legace on Oct. 24 and Chicago's Cristobal Huet on Nov. 29. ... The Kings are back at Staples Center on Saturday night against Columbus. It's only the third time since the start of the 1995-96 season they have played at home on back-to-back days. ... The last time the Kings scored four goals in one period was Feb. 28, 2008, vs. Chicago, when they lost 6-5 in overtime.


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