EDMONTON – The Los Angeles Kings are in first place in the Western Conference thanks to a rare goal form Sean O’Donnell.
O’Donnell broke open a 2-2 tie at 15:27 of third period, ending a 157-game streak without a goal, as the Kings defeated the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 Tuesday. Dustin Brown and Brad Richardson each had a goal and an assist for the Kings (22-11-3), who vaulted into first place in the NHL’s Western Conference after winning eight of their last 10 games.
The 38-year-old O’Donnell’s scored on a point shot that went untouched through a sea of legs.
“It had been a while,” he said. “It was a big goal for the team too. We lost a tough game to Vancouver (3-1) on Monday. It was our ninth game in 15 nights coming into a tough building and playing a team that had been playing pretty well. Moving into first in the West is a real shot in the arm. We are starting to really believe in ourselves.”
Kings alternate captain Matt Green credited goalie Jonathan Quick for preventing the Oilers from completing a comeback after trailing 2-0.
“They came back on us and thankfully he was able to keep us in it,” he said. “They were all over us in the third. It’s huge for this team to get this win. We were playing back to back and they had been hot lately.”
Sheldon Souray and Ryan Potulny replied for the Oilers (15-14-4), who saw a five-game winning streak, their longest since 2006, snapped.
Oilers head coach Pat Quinn snapped during his post-game comments as well.
“I haven’t felt angry this year yet, but I am angry now about how we played,” he said.
“How could you like the result? We were the team that was supposed to be rested and fresh. I don’t know if there is any excuse for being dumb.
“We don’t shoot the puck, we stay out too long, we make bad changes, we do things that beat ourselves. It’s hard not to be upset.”
Veteran Edmonton defenceman Steve Staios concurred with his coach.
“There is no excuse for that,” he said. “We cut corners tonight. We have to play to a higher standard. There were times when we did and times when we didn’t. We can’t afford to let our standards drop.”
The Kings started the scoring five minutes in as a Denis Grebeshkov giveaway at the Kings’ blue-line led to a 2-on-1 with Brown and Richardson, who tucked the puck between the legs of Oilers starter Jeff Deslauriers.
Los Angeles took a 2-0 lead four minutes into the second as Richardson walked around defenceman Lubomir Visonovsky and blasted it on net. Deslauriers made the initial save but Brown made a diving play to whack home the big rebound.
It was the Kings’ turn to cough up the puck in their own end with eight minutes to play in the second as Dustin Penner picked off a pass deep in the L.A. zone, but was stopped on the breakaway by Quick. On the ensuing faceoff, Souray blasted it top corner to make it 2-1.
The Oilers finally managed to tie the game four minutes into the third as Tom Gilbert sent the puck up ice where Souray set up Potulny for his sixth of the season.
Both teams return to action on Thursday as Edmonton plays the second game of a four-game homestand against Nashville, while the Kings play the third of a four-game road trip in Calgary.
Notes: It was the second meeting between the two clubs this season. Los Angeles won the first game last month in Edmonton 3-1. …Deslauriers made his 12th consecutive start for the Oilers with Nikolai Khabibulin still out with a back injury. Khabibulin’s return may not be imminent as he had a procedure on Tuesday described by head coach Pat Quinn as “spinal stuff.”…Edmonton defenceman Denis Grebeshkov returned to the lineup after missing the previous 13 games with a knee injury. …The Kings were without forwards Jarret Stoll, who left their game on Monday in the third with a groin injury, and Wayne Simmonds, who had surgery earlier in the week to clean up cartilage damage in his left knee. …To round out their roster, the Kings recalled 24-year-old centre Corey Elkins from the AHL on an emergency basis. It was Elkins’ first NHL game.