Oilers' Ranford Stops Kings, 6-1 : NHL playoffs: Backup goalie stops 33 shots, gives Edmonton lead, two games to none playoff lead.


Foreigners leaving Canada are supposed to list items of value they are taking out of the country.

For the sake of honesty, it is hoped the Kings, headed home Friday night after losing to the Oilers in Edmonton, 6-1, did not include their sticks.

That's not necessarily a knock on the Kings. They used those sticks until the ends were worn out, firing 35 shots on goal.

It's just that mere hockey sticks seem about as useful these days as kindling wood in the Sahara against Oiler goalie Bill Ranford, who has suddenly turned into a human wall.

Friday night's victory, before a sellout Northlands Coliseum crowd of 17,503, has moved the Oilers into a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Smythe Division finals with Game 3 to be played Sunday at the Forum.

Granted, the Oilers have played excellent team defense. But, this has become Ranford's series. When starting goalie Grant Fuhr went out at the end of the regular season with a shoulder injury, there was real concern how far the Oilers could in the playoffs.

But these days, nobody is worried about when or if Fuhr will return.

Remember those wild and crazy days for the Kings, when they were scoring a dozen goals in a game against the Calgary Flames, racking up 15 points in a game for a single line, winning on blind shots?

Was that really only a week ago?

Ranford has made it seem like another era.

Since he put on his mask to face the Kings, they have plunged into a scoring drought that nearly spread over two games. To be more specific, it was 103 minutes and 45 seconds between goals.

The Kings scored to end the double-overtime game that eliminated the Flames from the playoffs, were shut out, 7-0, in Game 1 against Edmonton, and were nearly shut out in Game 2.

No Kings team has ever been shut out in consecutive playoff games.

But then, no Kings team has ever faced a Bill Ranford.

Yet with it all, the Kings were still in the game in the third period Friday night.

Goals by Edmonton's Martin Gelinas and Craig Simpson had given Edmonton a 2-0 lead heading into the final period.

It appeared the Kings scoring slump had ended in the first period when Tomas Sandstrom deflected a Steve Duchesne shot past Ranford.

Had the man turned mortal?

Not yet.

Sandstrom clearly had his stick above his shoulder at impact, negating the goal.

But the long, tough dry spell finally ended at the 3:45 mark of the third period.

Ranford had blocked a Duchesne shot from the right point, but the puck bounced in front of him where Brian Benning slipped it to Chris Kontos.

Kontos shoveled the puck between Ranford's legs for a goal .

Heck, even the Berlin Wall eventually came down.

The last goal Ranford had surrendered was at the 9:21 mark of the first period of the Oilers' series-clinching win over the Winnipeg Jets.

Before he gave up another, he went a team-record 154 minutes and 24 seconds, breaking the 92:42 racked up by Andy Moog in 1983.

But with all Ranford's heroics, it was still only 2-1 when the Kings got two crucial penalties--against Larry Robinson for tripping Mark Messier and Tony Granato for slashing Simpson--giving Edmonton a two-man advantage.

Jari Kurri scored in the five-on-three situation, Mark Lamb scored on the subsequent five-on-four and, with Ranford again a block of granite, the game was out of reach. Eldon Reddick spelled Ranford for the final 1:56, stopping the Kings' 35th shot on goal.

King Notes

Two officials were hurt in Game 1. Linesman Gerard Gauthier suffered a broken left foot when hit by a puck in the second period, but still managed to finish the game. Referee Bill McCreary was dazed after colliding with Steve Duchesne, but continued as well. . . . Oiler Co-Coach Ted Green refused to shake hands with Winnipeg Jet assistant Alpo Suhonen at the end of the first-round playoff series after hearing that Suhonen had criticized Edmonton's coaching staff. Told that Suhonen had once been a sportswriter, Green replied, "I knew there was something wrong with him." . . . John Tonelli appeared in his 158th NHL playoff game Friday night, moving ahead of Gordie Howe in that department into seventh place on the league's all-time list. Next up is Brad Parks, who is sixth with 162 games. . . .

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