Oilers dealt blow by Kings
The Edmonton Oilers failed on two fronts Tuesday night — failing to extend a season-high winning streak and failing to keep pace in the competitive Northwest Division.
Sean O'Donnell picked an ideal time to end a personal 157-game goalless drought, potting the winner short-handed with 4:33 remaining as the Los Angeles Kings eked out a 3-2 victory over the Oilers at Rexall Place.
O'Donnell's rare goal — on a low point shot that grazed a leg and changed direction en route to the back of the net — broke a 2-2 deadlock after Edmonton had erased a two-goal deficit.
"It had been a while," he said. "It was a big goal for the team, too.
"It was our ninth game in 15 nights, coming into a tough building and playing a team that had been playing pretty well."
Dusin Brown and Brad Richardson each had a goal and an assist as the Kings (22-11-3) improved to 8-1-1 for their last 10 games and moved into sole possession of top spot in the Western Conference.
"Moving into first in the West is a real shot in the arm," O'Donnell said. "We're starting to really believe in ourselves."
Los Angeles opened its four-game trip on a losing note, falling 3-1 at Vancouver on Monday night, but netminder Jonathan Quick rebounded with a solid 27-save effort in Edmonton.
"They came back on us and, thankfully, he was able to keep us in it," Kings defenceman Matt Greene said. "They were all over us in the third.
"It's huge for this team to get this win. We were playing back-to-back and they had been hot lately."
Ryan Potulny and Sheldon Souray — a force to be reckoned with — had a goal and an assist apiece for the Oilers (15-14-4), who saw a five-game win streak end.
"We tried to take a little bit of the easy road," Souray said. "We haven't played like that for a while.
"We've been playing harder than that. We didn't stink up the joint, but we definitely took some shortcuts tonight and it costs us the game."
"We cut corners tonight," echoed Oilers defenceman Steve Staios. "We have to play to a higher standard.
"There were times when we did and times when we didn't. We cannot afford to let our standards drop."
Jeff Deslauriers made his 12th consecutive start in place of injured Nikolai Khabibulin (spine) and faced 26 shots, while Dustin Penner's goal-scoring string was snapped at three games.
Penner had scored in each of his previous three games and bulged the twine in five of seven for a team-high 18 goals overall — surpassing last season's total of 17.
With the loss, Edmonton fell into the division basement — one point behind the Minnesota Wild, 2-1 winners over the Blue Jackets.
"I haven't felt angry this year yet, but I'm angry now about how we played," fumed Oilers head coach Pat Quinn. "How could you like the result?
"We were the team that was supposed to be rested and fresh. I don't know if there is any excuse for being dumb.
"We don't shoot the puck, we stay out too long, we make bad changes, we do things that beat ourselves. It's hard not to be upset."
Richardson strikes early for Kings
Richardson opened the scoring 5:29 into the contest, converting Brown's pass on a 2-on-1 break.
Oilers rearguard Denis Grebeshkov, in his first action since missing 13 games with a knee injury, coughed up the puck at the Los Angeles blue-line, resulting in the odd-man rush.
Edmonton narrowly missed pulling even late in the first period when Sam Gagner tried to sweep in a bouncing rebound from the lip of the crease, but Quick was equal to the task.
Richardson and Brown struck again 3:44 into the second period, switching roles on the goal that made it 2-0.
Richardson left Oilers defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky spinning at the blue-line with a nifty deke and fired a slapshot that Deslauriers inadvertently kicked to Brown, who buried the rebound.
But Potulny won a faceoff to Souray and he scored his third on a slapshot inside the right post at 12:17.
Souray returned the favour on the tying goal as he played give-and-go with Potulny, who ripped it high beyond Quick's reach for his sixth 3:43 into the third period.
The Oilers nearly took the lead four minutes later when Souray uncorked a cannon of a slapshot from the point, but it clanked off the right post.
With files from The Canadian Press