Jeff Carter Leads LA Kings Past Edmonton 4-1
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jeff Carter had a goal and an assist, Jonathan Quick made 23 saves, and the Los Angeles Kings kept moving forward in the Western Conference playoff race with a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
Mike Richards and Slava Voynov also scored for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who have won five of seven to climb back into fourth place in the West.
Carter scored his 22nd goal and Voynov got his first goal in 17 games, with both scores coming on Los Angeles’ long-struggling power play. Drew Doughty added an empty-net score, just his second goal of the season.
Magnus Paajarvi scored and Devan Dubnyk stopped 35 shots for the Oilers, who have lost two straight after a five-game winning streak to fall out of playoff position.
Center Jerred Smithson made his debut with the Oilers, who acquired the faceoff specialist in a trade with Florida this week. Smithson had stayed in Florida after the trade for the birth of his son Thursday.
The Kings took the lead 98 seconds in and never surrendered it, adding another methodical victory to their quest for home-ice advantage in the first round of the postseason – not that home ice meant anything last season to the eighth-seeded Kings while they steamrolled to the franchise’s first title. Los Angeles is eight points behind Pacific Division leader Anaheim, its opponent in Sunday’s Freeway Faceoff.
The Kings improved to 12-1-6 in their past 19 meetings with Edmonton, which hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006.
Quick performed well in his first victory since March 28. The Conn Smythe Trophy winner is facing a challenge for playing time from backup Jonathan Bernier, who has won nine of his past 10 starts while compiling some of the NHL’s most impressive statistics, capped by a shutout of Minnesota on Thursday.
The Kings scored on their first shot for the second straight game when Carter collected a turnover and fed the puck to Richards, whose wrist shot beat Dubnyk. The goal was Richards’ ninth of the season, albeit just his second in 13 games.
Carter put the Kings up 2-0 during a power play late in the period when captain Dustin Brown flung a pass toward the net. The puck apparently hit Carter’s body and floated into the top corner for the power forward’s fourth goal in five games.
Carter’s 22 goals are third in the NHL and tops in the Western Conference. Los Angeles’ power play had scored in just one of the previous eight games.
Paajarvi got the Oilers’ first goal on a power play early in the second period, but Voynov put the Kings back ahead by two goals with a long, low shot through traffic on another power play. The goal was the first since March 5 for Voynov, the young Russian defenseman enjoying another productive season.
Doughty scored just his second goal in 38 games from his own blue line in the final minute.
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