Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist as the Los Angeles Kings took at least a temporary hold of the Pacific Division lead with a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.
Mike Richards, Drew Doughty and Alec Martinez also scored for the Kings (39-27-12) who moved from eighth place in the Western Conference to third, moving ahead of Dallas to lead the Pacific awaiting the result of the Stars' game against Vancouver.
Jordan Eberle replied for the Oilers (31-38-9) who have lost two in a row after a 5-0-2 run in their previous seven games.
There was a quick start to the game with a pair of goals in the first minute and a half.
Los Angeles scored on its first shot of the game as Dwight King looped out from the corner and took a long hopeful shot that was tipped by Kopitar through the legs of Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.
Edmonton got that goal back less than a minute later on the power play as Eberle snapped a shot from the right face-off dot that went just inside of the post past Kings starter Jonathan Quick. It was the 33rd goal of the season for the second-year forward. Rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins picked up an assist for the 50th point of his rookie season.
The Kings went up 2-1 midway through the first period as Jeff Petry missed a puck at the point on an Edmonton power play and Richards sped away on a breakaway before lifting a backhand shot past Khabibulin for the short-handed goal.
L.A. outshot Edmonton 9-2 in the first.
The Kings took a 3-1 lead seven minutes into the second frame as a Doughty power-play point shot past hit the stick of an Oiler defender and deflected past the Oiler goalie.
The Oilers found themselves with just four defencemen midway through the second after Petry took a puck in the face and joined Ladislav Smid in the dressing room. Smid suffered a neck injury late in the first.
Edmonton was pressing late in the second period but Quick came up with a pair of huge glove saves on Nugent-Hopkins and Andy Sutton.
The Kings padded their lead eight minutes into the third as Martinez showed pretty good reflexes, kicking the rebound from a pad save to his stick and sliding the puck into a wide-open net.
Los Angeles outshot Edmonton 32-14 in the contest.
Notes: It was the third of four meetings between the two teams, who will play again in Los Angeles on Monday. Edmonton won the first two games of the series... The Kings swept their four-game series with the Oilers last year... Quick has had his share of success in goal in Edmonton. The Kings goalie came into the contest with a 5-1-0 record at Rexall Place with a 1.84 goals-against average and .932 save percentage... The Oilers recalled forward Magnus Paajarvi from the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League but them promptly had to send him back after being informed they had exceeded the number of call-ups allowed after the trade deadline... Oiler Eric Belanger was a healthy scratch for the first time this season... The Kings were without forwards Jeff Carter and Simon Gagne. Carter was out with an ankle injury suffered in their last match against Calgary. Gagne remained out with a concussion.
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