Jan 22 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter and his players react on the bench late in the third period of the game against the Los Angeles Kings at the Pepsi Center. The Avalanche defeated the Kings 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Kings Left Heartbroken in Oil Country

Recap: Kings Lose 2-1 (OT); Game 3 (0-2-1)

EDMONTON – What started out as an instructional video on how not to be disciplined turned out to be a finish for the ages as the Edmonton Oilers, down 1-0 for much of the game, scored with just four seconds to go in regulation and winning it on a power play goal in overtime to blow the roof off Rexall Place picking up their first home win of the season.

The Oilers appeared to have the wind taken out of their sails with 1:05 to go in regulation as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored to tie but the goal was disallowed as Edmonton’s Sam Gagner had his skate caught in the pad of Jonathan Quick interfering with the netminder. The no goal caused a vicious backlash from the Rexall faithful who threw debris on the ice in addition to chanting obscenities. Nevertheless, the goal did not stand but the Oilers did not give in. Edmonton won a late face off and 2012 first-overall pick Nail Yakupov pounced on the rebound and scored to tie. As exciting as the goal was, the celebration was better as Yakupov sped past centre ice and slid on his knees past his own blueline before dropping his head to the ice in disbelief. It is a highlight that will surely be on all of the “Best of 2013” at year’s end.

Then, in overtime, the Kings were caught with too many men for the second time (almost a third) and the Oilers took advantage as Sam Gagner, the scapegoat for the disallowed goal, got his revenge and scored in front to give Edmonton the win and leave the defending champs winless.

Before allowing the overtime goal, the Los Angeles Kings had killed off all eight of their penalties including a 5-on-3 early in the second period. Jonathan Quick, who looked shaky, in his first game and a little better in his second, was spectacular tonight stopping 37 shots frustrating the Oilers attack for just nearly the whole night. Of course, given the end result, that likely provides very little solace for the Conn Smythe winner.

The game was scoreless until just over halfway through the second as Kyle Clifford sent Jeff Carter in on a breakaway where he made no mistake deking out Devan Dubyk and going upstairs to put Los Angeles on the board. For Clifford, he has now not only scored in each of the Kings’ three games thus far but he has been in on all of their goals so far (two goals and two assists to be exact).

While they still aren’t putting in the results, Los Angeles’ urgency has become progressively better. They hit a few posts tonight and had some quality scoring chances along the way. What stands out unfortunately is their power play which has been, for lack of a better term, atrocious. The Kings were 0-for-7 with the man-advantage tonight including four 5-on-3 advantages. Overall, the Kings are now 0-for-19 on the power play and only they and the Detroit Red Wings have yet to score a power-play goal this season. Whatever needs to be done to address this needs to be taken care of right away as this type of futility is simply unacceptable, especially against a team (with all due respect to the Oilers) who gave up six first-period goals to San Jose last game.

While Carter’s goal was highlight-reel calibre, Los Angeles’ offense needs to step it up a few notches. While Kyle Clifford is impressive, the likes of Kopitar, Brown and Richards all need to wake up and start putting the puck into the net. Despite their late-game collapse, the Kings had everything working tonight. The penalty-kill in regulation was superb, Quick was magnificent and even the injury-riddled defense looked sharp, particularly Alec Martinez and Drew Doughty. However, if the Kings could have scored just one more goal, we would be talking about Los Angeles’ first win. Alas, we’re not as the Kings’ coaching staff should have their hands full solving their team’s anemic offense.

Nevertheless, the Kings are getting progressively better and they hope to continue that Saturday night as the silver-and-black travel to Glendale for a Western Final rematch with the hated Phoenix Coyotes.

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Tags: Edmonton Oilers Jeff Carter Los Angeles Kings Nail Yakupov Sam Gagner

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