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Edmonton Oilers @ Los Angeles Kings Game 13 Preview

Five games below .500 and just three weeks into the season, the Oilers are already in "must-win" territory.

Jonathan Quick's numbers haven't been great, but the Kings are winning because they're scoring more than they're allowing.  Maths!
Jonathan Quick's numbers haven't been great, but the Kings are winning because they're scoring more than they're allowing. Maths!
Jonathan Daniel



3-8-1, 0.584 p/g
Ranks 7-4-0, 1.27 p/g
Western Conf: 14th Western Conf: 7th
T-27th P/G T-11th
24th ST 16th
24th ES 22nd
30th Goal 13th

7:00 p.m. MDT | Sportsnet
Staples Center

The opposing view: Jewels From The Crown

Top Story:

  • The Edmonton Oilers are in a world of hurt, and the season is yet to be a month old. Winners of just three games in their first dozen played, the Oilers are going to have to put the pieces together rather quickly if they wish to realistically have any dreams about the 2013-14 postseason.
  • The Oilers are last in the league in goals allowed. That's bad. The team is allowing an average of four goals per game, which might be OK if this was 30 years ago. It's not, and it's bad. A significant part of this number is the result of Devan Dubnyk's abysmal play to open the season, but Jason LaBarbera didn't help matters when he yielded a five spot in yesterday's loss to Phoenix. The Oilers have allowed 48 goals in 12 games this season, and that's a mind-numbing amount of goals. The next-worse team is the Rangers, and we all know how much fun they've been having so far.

The Oilers are saying:

"It was an interesting game to say the least. It's getting disheartening to say I like most of our game and come up short"

That's Oilers coach Dallas Eakins after yesterday's 5-4 loss in Phoenix to the Coyotes.

I don't know how much of it is 'puck luck' and how much of it is simply getting beat by a better team, but I've liked what I've seen in the first half of both the Capitals game on Thursday and this game against the Coyotes. You'd figure that'd be hard to say on a team that's allowing four goals per game, but I really think with a few bounces, this team has two more wins than losses. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I mostly agree with Eakins here, but it's getting to be a tough sell after seven consecutive years out of the dance.

The Opponent is saying:

"Our team put up seven goals..."

That's Kings winger Dwight King (say that seven times fast) after Los Angeles hung a seven-spot over Phoenix in Thursday's 7-4 victory over the Coyotes. Seven is a pretty good number to have for your team. Dwight King had a hat trick in the victory, his first of his career.

The Kings haven't been churning out goals by the bucket as of late (they're scoring less on average than the Oilers per game), and Kings starter Jonathan Quick isn't having the best statistical season so far (6-4-0 with a pedestrian .904 SV%). How are the Kings in the playoffs? They're scoring more than they allow. Pretty simple, really. If the Oilers could bring their GA number down to something less ridiculous to say, oh, I don't know, three instead of four, they'd have a couple more wins, and we might be able to put off thinking about the 2014 draft until November.

Tyler Pitlick scored his first NHL goal against the Coyotes yesterday. Tyler Pitlick also sustained a knee injury and will not be playing against the Kings. Anton Lander was scratched in OKC yesterday, which leads us to believe he'll be the call up. This may change. Please adjust your programs as necessary.

Key matchup: The fourth line versus the world. I haven't had many nice things to say about Edmonton's fourth line this year, mostly because I don't think they're very good hockey players. When they're matched up against real hockey players, we almost always suffer as a result. In the past two games, they haven't been terrible. No, they're not scoring goals, and no, they're not getting outchanced like a roulette wheel eating up unwitting casino patrons. I mean, they're not saving the day, but they're not melting the ice they're standing on either, which is a nice change of pace.

Expected Lines & Pairings:

Nail Yakupov - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
David Perron - Mark Arcobello - Ales Hemsky
Anton Lander? - Boyd Gordon - Ryan Jones
Luke Gazdic - Will Acton - Ben Eager

Ladislav Smid - Jeff Petry
Anton Belov - Justin Schultz
Nick Schultz - Andrew Ference

Devan Dubnyk

The Kings expected lineup based on recent practices and updates:

Dwight King - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams

Mike Richards - Jeff Carter - Matt Frattin

Dustin Brown - Jarret Stoll - Trevor Lewis

Kyle Clifford - Colin Fraser - Jordan Nolan

Robyn Regehr - Drew Doughty

Willie Mitchell - Slava Voynov

Jake Muzzin - Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick

I really like hockey, and would like to see the Oilers win this game to avoid going down six games below .500 in October.

Make it happen, Oilers. Make it happen so that after today, the team is only four games below .500.

That's all we want. A little respect.