Goals, goals, goals. For Kings fans, it was like an extra helping of dessert after going so long without. A few more thoughts after the Kings put themselves in a playoff position again. They have not lost to the Oilers, in regulation, in their last 14 meetings, going 11-0-3.
Skating down memory lane
There was one thing the latest game had in common with that 2010 game. Kings captain Dustin Brown had been in a scoring slump and recorded his second career hat trick. He didn’t have a hat trick against the Oilers, of course, but did end a 19-game goal scoring drought.
The compassion of Marian Gaborik
The highly skilled Marian Gaborik scored twice (24th and 25th of the season) and added an assist for a three-point night. It is the second time this season he has recorded three points in a game, the other on Dec. 18 against St. Louis.
(Incidentally, another statistic about Gaborik: his durability in 2015. He missed 12 of the Kings’ first 27 games because of injuries but has not been out of the lineup since Dec. 29).
“This room has been through a lot, a lot of situations like this,” Gaborik said. “We know what it takes. Everybody knows how to prepare themselves and how to elevate their game. I think everybody knows the importance of these games. That’s just the way it is in this room.”
In answering a question about the Kings’ complete domination, Gaborik referenced rookie goalie Tyler Bunz of the Oilers. Bunz made his first NHL appearance when starter Ben Scrivens was pulled after two periods. Bunz, who doesn’t even have much American Hockey League experience, is with the Oilers because backup Richard Bachman had to leave the team this week for family reasons.
Gaborik had some kind words for the unfortunate rookie, who had a rough go against the Kings. Bunz, 23, was a fifth-round draft pick by the Oilers in 2010.
““We just kept going. I felt bad for that Bunz, that goalie coming in,” Gaborik said. “I guess it was his first [game].
“But it’s nice to get this one behind us and move to the next one. Huge games from now on.”
Said Kings forward Jordan Nolan, who scored his fifth of the season: “It seemed like everything we shot went into the net tonight.”
McNabb back into the fray
With defenseman Andrej Sekera out because of an injury to his leg -- possibly for the rest of the regular season – that put the focus back on youngster, defenseman Brayden McNabb.
McNabb came out of the lineup when defenseman Alec Martinez returned from his long absence due to a concussion. This was McNabb’s first game since March 21 and he played 17 minutes, 33 seconds and finished a plus-two against the Oilers.
Naturally Sekera’s injury status is a concern. But one front-office executive wasn’t pushing the panic button, pointing out the significant progress McNabb has made throughout the season.
Perhaps the lessons McNabb learned from those bumps in the road in, say, December, will pay off down the stretch in April.