Game Thread: Kings @ Oilers - KO The Champs

USA TODAY Sports

The Oilers have a chance to move into 5th in the conference tonight.

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By points earned per game, the Oilers sit 8th in the Western Conference, but can jump into a tie for 5th tonight with a win and some help from St. Louis and Detroit. As long as they're at home, they need to grab two points and the struggling Jonathan Quick gives them a chance to do just that.

Team Reports

Oilers Report: Nikolai Khabibulin was named the starter after relieving Devan Dubnyk against Colorado. Khabibulin has had a miserable run in Edmonton as the starter.

Kings Report: The Kings are healthy up front but still thin on the blueline. They've still got a chance to overcome their poor early start, but the clock is ticking on them.

Expected Line Combinations

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Teemu Hartikainen - Sam Gagner - Ales Hemsky

Ryan Smyth - Eric Belanger - Nail Yakupov

Ben Eager - Chris VandeVelde - Magnus Paajarvi

Justin Schultz - Nick Schultz

Ladislav Smid - Jeff Petry

Ryan Whitney - Mark Fistric

Nikolai Khabibulin

Scratches: Ben Eager, Corey Potter, Theo Peckham

Broadcast Information

Rexall Place, 8:00 pm MST
TV - TSN
Radio - 630 CHED

By The Numbers

  • The Oilers have the most efficient special teams in the league right now with an STE of 110.7. The Kings rank 22nd at 96. For more on STE, check here.
  • The Kings' Fenwick close of 58.92 is the best in the league. It's early, but that's still an indication of how powerful the Kings' lineup can be.
  • More evidence of how strong the Kings are: their shot differential of 4.3 per game is 3rd-best in the NHL.
  • So why are the Kings faltering? Goaltending. Some of their best players can't buy a save behind them. The Even Strength Save Percentage On carnage: Dustin Penner and Mike Richards: .824, Jeff Carter: .850, Drew Doughty: .852, Rob Scuderi: .870, Dustin Brown: .884, Alec Martinez: .891. Jonathan Quick has been astoundingly bad for an NHL goaltender, let alone an all-star and Conn Smythe winner.
  • Mike Richards 3.17 even strength shooting percentage on combines to give him a PDO of 855 - the lowest of any regular forward in the NHL. Last season's lowest regular PDO was .931. Richards is in for a huge pop.
  • For those of you frustrated with Nail Yakupov, consider that his PDO of 955 is 217th of 257 regular forwards in the league. It's the lowest on the Oilers team and is due for a turnaround. The Yakupov bounce could be the big story in the next few weeks.
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