Kings-Oilers Preview

Picking up points against the Edmonton Oilers is fairly routine for the Los Angeles Kings, but this meeting it's of the utmost importance.

With a major matchup with playoff implications looming, the Kings will try to avoid a letdown and continue their dominance of the Oilers on Tuesday night.

Los Angeles (39-25-15) is a staggering 19-1-7 in its last 27 meeting with the Oilers, going 11-0-3 in Edmonton over that span. The Kings have won nine of the last 10 matchups overall (9-0-1), pounding the Pacific Division rival 8-2 at home Thursday.

Maintaining that dominance is key to Los Angeles' playoff hopes, as it sits tied with Calgary for third in the division, but one point behind Winnipeg for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

The Kings only hold the tiebreaker against the Jets, with all three teams having three games remaining in the regular season. One of the matchups pits Los Angeles against the Flames in Calgary on Thursday.

Before that, Calgary hosts Arizona and Winnipeg visits St. Louis on Tuesday.

The Kings are trying to bounce back from Monday's 2-1 shootout defeat at Vancouver in the opener of this three-game Western Canada trip.

Los Angeles may be wise to avoid a shootout again since it's lost eight of the last nine games that have reached the tiebreaker, including 3-2 at Edmonton on Dec. 30. The team has converted just 5 of 35 shootout attempts, and has a league-worst 14.3 success rate.

"I don't know what's going on this year," said Anze Kopitar, who is 1 for 9 in shootouts. "We haven't been very good, obviously. But that doesn't matter right now, we just have to go to Edmonton and get the two points."

With the Kings' playoff hopes still uncertain, Jonathan Quick should be back in net after making 37 saves but giving up the only successful shootout attempt against the Canucks.

He's 14-1-5 with a 1.56 goals-against average against the Oilers after making 28 saves Thursday.

With 59 points, the Oilers (23-43-13) need two from their remaining three games to avoid finishing below their 1992-93 record for the fewest in a non-shortened season.

They've done little to avoid that dubious mark, getting outscored 17-3 during a three-game slide after winning three in a row with a 12-4 scoring edge.

Edmonton's slide continued Saturday, falling 4-0 to Calgary in the opener of this three-game homestand, which ends Thursday versus Vancouver.

With the Oilers out of the playoffs for a ninth straight season amid a litany of injuries, they're afforded the luxury of giving younger players experience in preparation for next season.

The average age of their defensemen on Saturday was 23.5 years, but that would increase with the potential return of Mark Fayne. The veteran blueliner has missed five games with a shoulder injury.

"I think it's great for those guys, getting experience when they're that young," Fayne told the team's official website. "It's a tough league for a defenseman to come in right away, every game in the playoff season. I think it's good that they're starting to get experience now, playing a lot of different positions and a lot of different match ups.

"I think, as a team, it might be a little tough of a transition when you have so many but this is the time of year to do it."

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