Kings defeat Oilers 3-1
EDMONTON -- A game-winning goal, late in the third period, against one's former team. It doesn't get much better than that for a low-scoring NHL defenseman.
After Wednesday night's game, Matt Greene
downplayed the significance and said it mattered little that he used to wear an Edmonton sweater, but the wide smile on Greene's face, after he scored, might have given away his true feelings.
Greene scored his first goal of the season with 4:28 remaining in the third period to break a tie game and send the Kings to an important 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers before 16,839 at Rexall Place.
``You play 82 games, and right now it's just playing against another team,'' said Greene, who was drafted by Edmonton in 2002 and played his first three NHL seasons with the Oilers. ``These guys, I have no ill feelings toward anybody in the organization. For a guy like me, who scores once a year, to say that I was picking my spots, is way more than an overstatement.''
The Kings' victory, though, did not come without a loss. Andrei Loktionov
, in his NHL debut, suffered a dislocated shoulder on a relatively innocent-looking hit late in the third period.
After the game, Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said Edmonton team doctors were unable to get Loktionov's shoulder back in place, and that Loktionov would have to stay in Edmonton while the rest of the team traveled to Vancouver.
Greene at least made it a happy trip for the rest of the Kings, who had tied the game 1-1 on Wayne Simmonds
' second-period goal and also got an empty-net goal from Alexander Frolov in the final minute. Jonathan Quick
made saves in goal.
Greene's goal came just after a period in which the Oilers, who had led 1-0 in the first period, seemed poised to take the lead again. The Oilers frequently buzzed the net and must missed goals on deflections and shots that went wide.
Greene, who had only two goals last season, found himself with some space near the top of the right circle, and his slap shot beat Edmonton goalie Jeff Deslauriers high and to the goalie's stick side with 4:28 to go.
``That was a great shot,'' Kings coach Terry Murray said. ``Greener is not a scorer, that's for sure, but he's a guy that plays hard for us. He really competes every night. He's a defending player, but you get those opportunities.
``I didn't ask him yet if he knew where he was shooting that puck, but he certainly got it away. There was a lot of velocity on it.''
The goal was a just reward for Greene, who led the Kings in both hits (four) and blocked shots (five).
``I was just trying to shoot it hard,'' Greene said. ``On a broken play like that, when you get a chance to shoot it, you don't get a lot of chances like that during the year, so you might as well shoot it as hard as you can and see what happens.''
The Kings broke a two-game losing streak and improved to 9-5-1 on the road this season, hard to explain when compared to their pedestrian 5-4-1 home record.
With the Kings facing a Thursday game at Vancouver, there was little time to celebrate, but enough time to note a game that might have been devastating had it been a loss.
The Oilers have six players on injured reserve, have struggled of late, were starting an unproven goalie and are chasing the Kings in the playoff race.
Still, the Oilers gave the Kings all they could handle for parts of the game.
The Oilers led 1-0 after the first period, but were outshot by the Kings 12-8 in a somewhat uneven period. There was little question about the Kings' control of the second period, during which they tied the game on Simmonds' goal and outshot the Oilers 13-7.
In the third, the Kings started the period with a big penalty kill then, during a tie game, did a good job of holding back an aggressive Edmonton attack. Quick made several strong saves to keep the game tied before Greene's goal.
``That's going to happen against any team in this league,'' Greene said. ``If it's a tight game, like it was tonight, and they're a grinding team, a hard-working team, you're going to have to go through those times, where there's three or four shifts in a row where it seems like they're buzzing and they've got eight guys out there.
``They're just going all over the place, but you've got to be ready and you've just got to lock it down and just weather the storm. Bend but don't break and settle things down.''
The Kings outshot the Oilers 35-23 and went scoreless on three power-play attempts but did kill all four Edmonton power plays, including two in the third period.
``In the third period, we really needed to dig in,'' Murray said. ``Our percentage has not been real good over the course of the year. We needed to have a big kill at the right time, and the guys came through.
``There was a very aggressive attitude, a lot of pressure on the puck, and if we can stay with that kind of attitude, that one guy is going to go and everybody is going to go, I think we can get this thing turned around.''
The Kings also made Brandon Segal a winner in his Kings debut. Segal played five minutes, 29 seconds and was credited with two hits. Before his injury, Loktionov played 11:52 and had one shot on goal.
missed the game with a lower-body injury, but might be able to return Thursday and reclaim his spot -- which Loktionov had filled -- as the second-line center. Rob Scuderi
, who missed his fourth consecutive game with a lower-body injury, also might be able to play against the Canucks.
Edmonton took the lead Wednesday late in the first period.
Sheldon Souray took the long-range slap shot through traffic, and it worked as intended, as Ryan Potulny deflected the puck with his stick, past Quick to give the Oilers the lead with 2:33 left in the first period.
The Kings tied the game 6:38 into the second period. Simmonds did a nice job of controlling a pass from Randy Jones
, then turned and fired a wrist shot from the top of the left faceoff circle that beat Deslauriers.
``Just a little give-and-go play with Jonesy, and I just turned around,'' Simmonds said. ``I was kind of skating backwards and I just fired at the net. I just saw a scuffle in front of the net and luckily it went in.''
That kept the game tied until Greene's goal, his fourth goal in 258 NHL games.
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