NHL: Surging Kings, Oilers meet with plenty on the line

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Two teams fighting for Western Conference playoff position meet when the Los Angeles Kings visit the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.

Edmonton (43-23-4, 90 points) leads Los Angeles (38-22-11, 87 points) by three points for second place in the Pacific Division. The Kings enjoy just a one-point cushion over the fourth-place Vegas Golden Knights.

The Oilers salvaged the finale of a three-game road trip with a 4-3 overtime win at the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. Zach Hyman scored his 51st goal of the season 1:22 into overtime to end it after the Oilers squandered a 3-1 lead in the third period.

“This game is a game of momentum,” Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “(When) the momentum swung in their way, I thought we did a good job of settling it down and staying composed on the bench and just go back to doing what we do, and we came up with a win.”

Nugent-Hopkins had a goal and an assist, Leon Draisaitl scored, and Connor McDavid had two assists. Stuart Skinner made 22 saves.

Hyman has five goals during a four-game goal streak. McDavid, who has 13 points (one goal, 12 assists) during a five-game point streak, has 93 assists and 119 points through 68 games. Draisaitl has seven points (five goals, two assists) during a five-game point streak.

“We don’t think we’re done,” forward Connor Brown said. “We’ve got a job to do in this regular season and it’s one game at a time, and I really liked our process in the game tonight.”

The Kings are certainly not done, using a strong post-All-Star break run to put themselves in playoff position.

Los Angeles has won four straight and opened a four-game road trip with a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday. Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist, Kevin Fiala and Blake Lizotte also scored, and Cam Talbot made 21 saves.

“A gritty game, physical, emotional, all of the above,” Kopitar said. “We’re getting down to the last with 11 games left, so it’s definitely nice to have this kind of atmosphere and this kind of pressure at the end of the game.”

Kopitar extended his multi-point game streak to four and has four goals and five assists in that stretch. Linemate Adrian Kempe has eight points (one goal, seven assists) during a four-game point streak of his own, and linemate Quinton Byfield has an assist in three straight games.

“We’re getting the mojo back,” Kopitar said of the trio. “We’re getting the confidence and the belief back. Last few games we’ve been clicking and making some plays that resulted in goals, and that’s why you’re feeling more confident and more at ease on the ice, and it seems that time really slows down or the play slows down a little.”

Kopitar, 36, hit the 40-assist mark for the 14th time in his career.

Edmonton holds a 2-1 series lead over Los Angeles. The Oilers won 3-2 in a shootout on Dec. 30, but David Rittich stopped 26 shots in a 4-0 Kings win on Feb. 10. On Feb. 26, Draisaitl and Evan Bouchard each had a goal and an assist in a 4-2 Oilers win.

–Field Level Media

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