Before the final two games of the regular season against the San Jose Sharks, the Los Angeles Kings had a chance to put themselves in a favorable position Monday night playing the Edmonton Oilers. L.A. did just enough to take the win, shutting out the Oilers, 2-0, to give itself a two-point lead in the Pacific Division playoff race.
Relative to Thursday's task against the Sharks, facing the Oilers would seem an easy way to gain some ground on L.A.'s adversaries. However, Edmonton came into the contest on a 6-2-2 stretch in its last 10 games. Against a Kings team that struggles to score, the Oilers were also starting Devan Dubnyk, who was boasting a 1.72 goals-against average, a .943 save percentage and a 6-1-1 record in his last eight appearances. Playing in their third straight game without Jeff Carter due to a deep bone ankle bruise, the Kings would still have work to do.
To start, offensively (as usual) the Kings, while pressing a hard forecheck, hesitated on plenty of opportunities with the puck once in the offensive zone. So, as usual, Jonathan Quick took up the brunt of the responsibility to keep the Kings in the game. Quick ended up stopping all 19 shots.
Finally, the offense kicked in just seconds into the third period, as Anze Kopitar used his hockey sense to feed Slava Voynov a puck in the high slot for a shot that skidded past Dubnyk to give the Kings the lead. A misfired shot by Sam Gagner found its way on to Mike Richards' stick, who took the puck down on a 2-on-1 with Dwight King. King's shot ended up crowning the lead and the game for the much-needed two points.