Like a checklist, Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter began rattling off the offensive contributions of some of his key players following their victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Defensively, however, there’s plenty of room for improvement before the playoffs begin.
Tyler Toffoli had two goals and two assists, Trevor Lewis added a short-handed goal and the Kings completed a five-game season sweep of the Oilers with a 6-4 victory on Saturday night.
Andy Andreoff and Jeff Carter also scored, Milan Lucic tied a career high with three assists and Jonathan Quick made 25 saves to help the Kings maintain their three-game lead over Anaheim for the Pacific Division lead with seven games left on the schedule.
“Jeff was making a lot of plays out there and his speed was very evident, especially against a really fast team,” Sutter said. “Tyler’s had trouble in close lately scoring goals and finishing, so it was good to see him score from in close. And Lucic was a force.”
Patrick Maroon had two goals in the third period for Edmonton, and Jordan Eberle and rookie Connor McDavid scored in the first. Rookie Laurent Brossoit stopped 27 shots in his sixth NHL start, three days after his 23rd birthday. He is still looking for his first victory.
The Oilers have lost nine straight games at Staples Center since Nov. 3, 2011.
“In the summer, you’re going to look at the record and say you were manhandled by a Stanley Cup champ-type team, and that’s certainly the case if you just look at it on paper,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. “But I think we’re making strides and getting closer to competing with L.A. and St. Louis and Anaheim – teams that are big and strong. We’re closing the gap.”
This is the first time the Kings swept a season series of five or more games from any team, but three of Edmonton’s losses were by one goal.
“When we use our quickness, we can give anybody a tough time,” McLellan said. “We have some skill and some players who can dart in and out, and if they’re given opportunities, they can score.”
Toffoli gave the Kings a 3-2 lead at 3:11 of the second period with his team-high 29th goal just seconds after Zack Kassian hit the right post at the other end.
Andreoff added his fifth of the season at 13:07 of the second. Lewis made it 5-2 at 17:26 with his fourth career short-handed goal while teammate Rob Scuderi was off for hooking.
The Oilers began their belated comeback with 10:38 remaining when Maroon scored on a power play with Drew Doughty off for tripping. Maroon then redirected McDavid’s short backhander from the left circle past Quick with 3:10 to play.
“In the third period, the tide turned a little bit for them,” Sutter said. “We took a bad penalty in their zone but it wasn’t enough to give them all the momentum. Jeff Carter’s line was as good as those three guys have been all year. They were outstanding.”
Carter put it away in the final minute with an empty-netter, his 20th goal of the season.
Toffoli and Eberle each scored in the first 36 seconds of the game. McDavid and Carter then swapped goals 27 seconds apart, leaving the teams deadlocked 2 at 10:20 of the opening period.
McDavid knocked the puck off Vincent Lecavalier’s stick and past Quick in one motion for his 15th goal after Lecavalier skated the puck dangerously in front of his own net.
McDavid, the first overall pick in the draft, has 10 goals and 23 assists in 28 games after missing the previous 37 because of a fractured collarbone. His seven-game point streak has equaled his longest of the season.
“He’s been our best player,” McLellan said. “For a 19-year-old to do that at this time of the year after missing most of his development part of the year where you can get your timing and your conditioning in, it’s really phenomenal. He’s got eyes in the back of his head, he’s got jets for skates, and he’s showing leadership skills now.”
Carter’s first goal survived a coach’s challenge by McLellan for goaltender interference against Lucic.
NOTES: Los Angeles is 20-0 when scoring more than three goals, including five overtime wins. ... Quick is 19-1-5 in 25 career games against Edmonton, with only one shutout. ... The Oilers, coming off a 6-3 upset win at San Jose on Thursday, will go the entire season without posting back-to-back wins on the same road trip.Report Typo/Error