One of the primary ways to get the Kings annoyed is to suggest they are simply waiting to flip the switch for when it really counts.
They've heard it nearly everywhere. From Anaheim to El Segundo. From Winnipeg and now in Edmonton.
On Tuesday night, the the switch was in the "on" position for the reigning Stanley Cup champions. They overwhelmed the struggling Oilers, 5-2, at Rexall Place. Kings center Anze Kopitar and forward Trevor Lewis combined for six points as the Kings won for the first time in four games.
For Lewis, the three points was a career high, a goal and two assists. His goal, his ninth of the season, made it 2-0 at 19:01 of the first period and came off a nicely executed two-on-one with Kopitar.
Kopitar scored his first goal in seven games (his shot glancing off Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz) just 26 seconds into the third period, making it 5-1. He had not scored since Feb. 16 against Tampa Bay.
"We need that out of him," Coach Darryl Sutter said of Kopitar. "We need him to be a top guy every night if we're going to make the playoffs."
Kopitar said his line, which includes Lewis and Marian Gaborik, was moving the puck well. "I think it was one of the more complete games that we played lately since we were on a bit of a skid," he said.
Lewis was also impressed with Kopitar.
"Kopi is such a big strong guy," Lewis said, "most guys when they get the puck they want you to come in and help them. He's so strong he tells you to get away and get open."
The other Kings goals came from defenseman Matt Greene, center Jeff Carter and left wing Kyle Clifford. Carter's goal, his team-leading 21st of the season, came short-handed at 2:18 of the second period to make it 3-0.
Edmonton's goals came from Luke Gazdic in the second period and Teddy Purcell on the power play in the third period. It was the first power-play goal the Kings have given up since the second period on Feb. 12 against Calgary, ending a run of 24 penalty kills.
Despite the burst of offense — the first time the Kings have scored five goals since beating Calgary, 5-3, in that Feb. 12 game — they are still out of a playoff spot because the Flames won in overtime at Philadelphia and retain third place in the Pacific Division.
"We could make it a lot easier on ourselves if we don't go through stretches where we're losing games," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said after the morning skate. "You don't want to go into the playoffs as the away team at the start of every series."
There is the matter of getting into the playoffs, of course. This brings us back to the flipping-the-switch narrative.
"People keep saying it," Kings center Jarret Stoll said. "We don't want to hear it, to be honest, anymore. It's kind of an easy way out. That, oh, these guys will pick it up and flip the switch.
"It's easy to say that, very tough to do. We've done it a couple of times, but you can't rely on that. You've got to play the right way and play good hockey every game. It's so tight."
Meanwhile, Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi, who is home in Los Angeles, said in an interview that the progress of defenseman Alec Martinez (concussion) was delayed by flu this week. He could be back on the ice soon, but it depends on if he responds favorably to a few more sessions of off-ice work and passes the testing protocol.