Kings Lead Oilers, 7-2--Lose, 8-7

Times Staff Writer

The Kings have blown a lot of leads this season, but they outdid themselves Monday night.

They led Edmonton, 7-2, late in the second period, and that's when the fun began for the defending Stanley Cup-champion Oilers and 17,498 fans at the Northlands Coliseum.

The Oilers exploded for six consecutive goals in the second and third periods to beat the Kings, 8-7.

"We got shook up and they just kept coming at us," King goalie Bob Janecyk said.

It was the fourth time in the last seven games that the Kings have been unable to hold a lead.

"This is one time that you can write that we blew it," defenseman Mark Hardy said. "We outplayed them for two periods, and then in the third we let them keep coming and coming and coming. . . . It's the third-period jinx. We don't have that killer instinct. When we get a team down like that, we should kill them."

The Kings did not have a shot in the first 11 minutes 21 seconds of the third period. They were outshot, 15-4, in the final period. Three of their shots came on a power play in the final minute.

"They were frozen, mentally frozen," King Coach Pat Quinn said of his team's play in the third period. "I could have lined up a Peewee team up out there and had them stand around and maybe they might not have been so afraid and would have tried to do something.

"This (blowing leads) has happened too often. It's becoming serious. There's no excuse for the number of times it's happened to us."

Oiler defenseman Kevin Lowe tied it at 7-7 with 5:38 left in the third period, and Quinn immediately called a 30-second timeout to regroup.

But it didn't do much good.

The Kings did a good job on center Wayne Gretzky, holding him to one goal. But Gretzky found a way to win. With 2:48 left, he set up defenseman Paul Coffey for the game-winning goal.

Gretzky gave Coffey the puck along the boards, and Coffey skated around King defenseman Jay Wells, put a move on two defenders in the slot and beat Janecyk on a 15-foot shot.

"We knew we were going to come back even though they had a big lead," said Gretzky, who helped to spark the comeback with a shorthanded goal early in the third period. "When it was 7-2 we talked about how we came back from a 6-3 deficit and beat Vancouver (10-7) earlier this season."

Edmonton Coach Glen Sather said: "I think we're even for what L.A. did to us in the playoffs three years ago when we had them down, 5-0, and they beat us, 6-5."

With 1:25 left, the Kings had a power play and a chance to tie the game after Edmonton's Jari Kurri received a two-minute minor for using an illegal stick. But Edmonton goalie Grant Fuhr, who entered the game in the first period after starting goalie Andy Moog had given up three goals, turned the Kings away.

"I was a spectator for most of the third period," Fuhr said. "They only had four shots in the third period, and most of them were in the last minute."

The game ended with a fight between King right wing Dave Taylor and Edmonton defenseman Lee Fogolin.

King center Marcel Dionne reached another milestone when he scored a first-period goal to move past Bobby Hull into third place on the all-time National Hockey League scoring list with 611 goals. But Dionne could be heard ripping the team through the closed locker room door afterward. Dionne's comments were laced with profanities.

"It's just very disappointing," Dionne said later. "I haven't seen game like this in long time. What can you say?"

Defenseman Don Jackson and right wing Willy Lindstrom led the Oilers with two goals apiece.

The Kings led, 4-0, going into the second period. They scored their first two goals of the game in a 37-second span and scored four goals on five shots.

Left wing Brian MacLellan took a pass from Anders Hakansson, put a move on Moog and beat him with a good backhand shot to give the Kings a 1-0 lead with 9:56 left in the first period. Dionne helped set up the goal when he stole the puck from Oiler defenseman Charlie Huddy and passed it to Hakansson.

Center Bob Miller scored his first goal of the season on a slapshot from just inside the blueline to give the Kings a 2-0 lead with 9:19 left. It was only Miller's second game back after missing nine games with a sprained ankle suffered Dec. 26 against Vancouver.

With 6:43 left in the first period, Dionne reached his milestone when he put a good move on Coffey and scored his 28th goal of the season.

Moog was pulled immediately after Dionne's goal. He had given up three goals on 10 shots.

But Fuhr, who replaced Moog, didn't fare much better, giving up a goal on the first shot he faced, by Carl Mokosak. The Kings scored three times in the second period, then it was all Edmonton.

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