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Kings Burned by Oilers in Shootout

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Despite getting a season high 55 shots on goal, the Kings’ struggles in matinee games continued as they lost their final regular season home game in a shootout to the lowly Edmonton Oilers 4-3. This was the fourth consecutive shootout game for the Kings in which they eked only one victory.

The Kings tried to be aggressive during the first and second periods, but with whiffed shots and missed passes they were never in position to get more than one scoring chance per cycle.

“We didn’t have the traffic, there was a loose puck on almost every shot that came to the net, and we were in position to put second and third opportunities back to the net,” head coach Terry Murray said after coaching his 900th career game. “That really is the story of the game.”

The Kings had a golden opportunity to get the first score in the game when former Ducks Ryan Whitney held Fredrik Modin on a breakaway 7:34 in the first period. Modin trying to make the Kings’ second penalty shot of the season would shoot it into the gut of Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk.

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Dubnyk saved 52 shots in the game although Murray isn’t quite ready to give him the Vezina Trophy.

“He stopped just about everything,” Murray said. “But I felt he saw a lot of pucks coming from the blue line.

“Anybody who’s playing goal in the NHL sees the puck from the blue line is going to stop pretty much every one of them. That was the most frustrating part.”

“There was a lot of traffic in our zone,” Oilers head coach Pat Quinn said. “Dubnuk took the pressure off of us today.”

With no goals being scored at one end, the Kings couldn’t stop the Oilers on the few chances they had. Center Mike Comrie scored 14:37 in the first period and a power play goal that deflected off of Kings’ defenseman Rob Scuderi’s skate 3:13 in the second period to give the Oilers the quick 2-0 lead. Tom Gilbert scored the shorthanded goal 5:24 in the third period to make the sold out Staples Center crowd nervous.

“They worked for everything they got,” captain Dustin Brown said of the Oilers scores. “That’s good execution by them. If we give them three chances and they score three goals… It’s what happened tonight.”

But the Kings mounted a furious comeback in the remaining 15 minutes getting a power play goal from Dustin Brown at 6:39, and goals by Jarret Stoll and Michal Handzus to tie the game up.

“The way we battled back after being down 3-0 shows that we got a lot of character in the locker room,” Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick said looking on the bright side of the one point they got.

Oilers’ center Shawn Horcoff made the winning backhanded shot in the shootout to give Edmonton the victory.

The Kings previous high shot game was against the Detroit Red Wings at Staples Center on January 7 in a 2-1 loss. The team record is still 59 shots on December 26, 1992 in a 7-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks.

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As for playoff positioning, the Kings now trail Detroit by a point for fifth place and lead the Nashville Predators by a point for sixth place. There are still scenarios the Kings can clinch the fifth seed and face the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.