LOS ANGELES â€” Tanner Pearson couldn’t help but notice that the Los Angeles Kings finally found their offence only after being eliminated from playoff contention.
Still, the Kings may have dealt the Edmonton Oilers a major blow in their upcoming quest for the Stanley Cup.
Trevor Lewis and Pearson scored about 8 1/2 minutes apart in the third period, Jonathan Quick made 23 saves and Los Angeles beat Edmonton 6-4 on Tuesday night to end the Oilers’ five-game winning streak.
“Would have been nice to have that a couple games ago,” Pearson said.
Nick Shore, Dustin Brown, Nic Dowd and Drew Doughty also scored for Los Angeles in its first game since being eliminated from the playoff race. The Kings beat a playoff-bound opponent for only the second time in their last seven contests.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice, Milan Lucic had a power-play goal and Darnell Nurse also tallied for the Oilers, who lost for the second time in 11 games.
Cam Talbot made 20 saves for Edmonton, which is tied with San Jose for second place in the Pacific Division with three games remaining. The Sharks currently hold the tiebreaker with more wins in regulation or overtime. They both trail first-place Anaheim by four points.
“Six goals, that’s a week’s worth for us when our team is detailed and the structure is there,” Oilers forward Mark Letestu said. “Six goals, you’re not to win any games giving up six so better now I guess than a couple weeks from now. But it’s a lesson we better learn real quick.”
There were no signs of the inconsistent offence that ultimately kept the Kings out of the post-season for the second time in three seasons as they erupted for six goals in the final two periods. When Pearson tallied his 24th on a wicked wrist shot midway through the third, it marked just the eighth time Los Angeles had scored at least five goals in a game.
But Pearson’s contribution, though it ultimately proved to be vital, was the exception as the Kings got production from outside their top lines. Shore and Dowd have only scored six goals each this season, while Lewis and Brown boosted their totals to 12 apiece.
Rookie forward Jonny Brodzinski even recorded his first points in the NHL with a pair of assists.
The Oilers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first, but promptly allowed three goals in the second, starting with Shore’s goal 2:22 in to open the scoring for Los Angeles.
Shore also had three assists, finding Lewis to put the Kings back ahead for good 1:40 into the third after Nugent-Hopkins tied it at 3 for Edmonton.
“There were some looks we’ve had the last couple games but tonight they went in,” said Shore, who set a new career-high with four points. “Not the start that we wanted but we knew we had to bounce back during the second and were able to do that.”
Pearson made it 5-3 at 10:09 before Nurse got the Oilers back within one with 6:12 remaining, but Edmonton could not come up with a tying goal.
Doughty added an empty-netter with 1:21 remaining.
The Oilers can still secure home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs by winning their final three games, but head coach Todd McLellan was more concerned about maintaining a winning mindset rather than opening the post-season in Edmonton.
“This time of the year, that little lull between the playoffs and finishing up the regular season, you can’t let your game down,” McLellan said. “There’s not enough practice time, there’s not enough games to get it back. You go to sleep, you don’t think it’s important on a given night, good luck getting it back and I thought we had a few of those players tonight.”
NOTES: Connor McDavid extended his points streak to 11 games with an assist, giving him six goals and 14 assists in that span. Now up to 95 points this season, McDavid remains eight ahead of Chicago’s Patrick Kane in the NHL scoring race. … The Kings have won 11 straight home games against the Oilers. … Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl had an assist in the third, extending his points streak to 11 games.
Oilers: Visit the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.
Kings: Host the Calgary Flames on Thursday.
Dan Greenspan, The Associated Press