Gaborik, Carter lead surging Kings' 8-2 rout of Oilers
LOS ANGELES (AP) With three goals in the first 10 minutes, the Los Angeles Kings demonstrated how seriously they're taking their late playoff push.
With three more goals in the third period of their highest-scoring performance in a half-decade, the defending Stanley Cup champions reminded everybody that they know how to finish.
Marian Gaborik and Jeff Carter scored two goals apiece, and the Kings moved up in the playoff chase with an 8-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
Drew Doughty and captain Dustin Brown ended lengthy goal-scoring droughts in the first period for the Kings, who pulled even with Winnipeg in the race for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Los Angeles also moved one point behind Calgary for third place in the Pacific Division.
''We have a lot of guys in here that thrive under pressure situations,'' Doughty said. ''We have a lot of heart, and we believe in every single player in this room to get the job done, and we have a lot of work left to do. So it's only one game, and we can't get ahead of ourselves. Lots of work left.''
After two losses to close their five-game East Coast road trip, the Kings returned home in danger of missing the postseason after winning 10 playoff rounds and two Stanley Cup titles in the previous three seasons.
But after blasting the hapless Oilers, the Kings still control their own fate heading into the final nine days. Los Angeles has a game in hand on the third-place Flames, and the clubs meet in Calgary on Feb. 9.
''We have a lot of confidence that we can do it,'' said Gaborik, who had three points. ''We got some help tonight, and we've just got to keep pushing forward. ... This team has been through a lot, and throughout it all, in a situation like this, we know what it takes. Everybody knows how to prepare themselves and how to elevate their game.''
Jordan Nolan also ended a long goal drought for Los Angeles, which hadn't scored eight goals in a game since April 1, 2010, against Vancouver. Robyn Regehr also scored for Los Angeles, while Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams had two assists apiece.
Jonathan Quick made 28 saves in a romp past the 28th-place Oilers, who gave up 13 goals in back-to-back games in Southern California.
Teddy Purcell and Jordan Eberle scored for the Oilers, who played awful team defense for long stretches of their 11th loss in 16 games.
Los Angeles poured it on in the third period against Edmonton goalie Tyler Bunz, who made his NHL debut.
''That was embarrassing,'' Eberle said. ''They treated us like a junior team. They pushed us around. ... You're a professional hockey player. You have to be able to push through whatever it is, or there will be guys who will take your spot.''
Former Kings goalie Ben Scrivens yielded five goals on 21 shots before Bunz stepped in for the third period. Bunz was down in the ECHL before getting the emergency call to replace Richard Bachman, who is away due to a death in the family.
Bunz gave up goals to Regehr and Gaborik 22 seconds apart before Carter capped the barrage with his 28th.
''The second goal is one I'm going to want back for a while ... but otherwise it was a pretty good experience in a building like this,'' Bunz said. ''But you never like losing like that, and you never want to have a debut like that.''
Brown started the scoring with his first goal in six weeks, ending a 19-game drought since Feb. 18. Doughty then snapped his 24-game drought since Feb. 7 with a long shot past Scrivens.
After Gaborik added his 24th goal to put the Kings up 3-0 in the first period, Nolan snapped his 20-game drought that dated to Feb. 16.
Gaborik secured the eighth 25-goal season of his NHL career in the third period.
Jarret Stoll returned from a nine-game injury absence for the Kings, picking up an assist on Brown's opening goal. Stoll's return meant Mike Richards was a healthy scratch for the first time in his NHL career. Richards is scoreless in five games since the $69 million center's high-profile demotion to the AHL.
NOTES: The Kings are unbeaten in their last 14 meetings with Edmonton (11-0-3) since Nov. 13, 2011, including six straight wins at home. ... Kings D Andrej Sekera sat out with an undisclosed leg injury, missing his first game since arriving in a trade in late February. ... Before the game, Los Angeles signed injured F Tanner Pearson to a two-year contract extension.