Fiset Is Kings’ Saving Grace in a 3-2 Victory Over Oilers


If a team poll was taken on who the Kings’ most consistent player has been for the first half of the season, goaltender Stephane Fiset would win in a landslide.

Fiset was at his best Sunday afternoon as he kept the Kings close before his teammates responded with third-period goals by Garry Galley and Ray Ferraro to defeat the Edmonton Oilers, 3-2, before 16,266 at the Edmonton Coliseum.

“He’s been solid for us all year long . . . we kind of abuse him a little bit but he’s been there to make the big saves for us,” Galley said of Fiset, who finished with 36 saves. “He’s been our MVP this year, he’s played very well for us. He keeps us in every game and when we sputter a little, he’s there for support.”


The victory improved the Kings to .500 (17-17-7) at the midway point of the season and to 5-3-1 in their last nine games.

The Kings got off to a rare strong start when forward Craig Johnson scored a power-play goal 4:54 into the first period. It was only the 15th time in 41 games that the Kings have scored first.

Johnson, who has played well since joining the line with Jozef Stumpel and Luc Robitaille, scored his ninth goal while falling to the ice chasing a rebound shot by Rob Blake.

The Kings, who lost to the Oilers in overtime at the Forum earlier this season, controlled most of the first period before taking the second off.

Fiset was on top of his game as he kept the score close against the Oilers, who traded Jason Arnott and Bryan Muir to New Jersey for Bill Guerin and Valeri Zelepukin after the game.

Edmonton started quickly in the second period and tied the score, 1-1, thanks to some sloppy play by the Kings in their zone.


The Oilers’ Andrei Kovalenko got the puck behind the goal and passed to Mike Grier inside the left circle. Grier sent a soft shot over Fiset’s glove to score his fourth goal of the season at 3:07.

The rest of the period, Fiset was up for every challenge the Oilers mounted. He snuffed shots by Doug Weight, Rem Murray, Scott Fraser, Greg de Vries, Ryan Smyth and several by Kovalenko.

Edmonton ended up outshooting the Kings in the period, 19-9.

After the Kings’ Sean O’Donnell was given a minor penalty for roughing Edmonton’s Todd Marchant, the Oilers took a 2-1 lead early in the third when defenseman Roman Hamrlik--playing in his second game since being traded from Tampa Bay--took a cross-ice pass from Weight and scored a power-play goal from the left circle at 2:02.

The Kings became more aggressive offensively and kept play in the Edmonton zone for much of the rest of the game. Yanic Perreault, who hasn’t scored since Dec. 18, had a shot stopped by Edmonton goalie Curtis Joseph and Russ Courtnall’s breakaway attempt midway in the period hit the crossbar.

The Kings finally tied the score at 2-2 when Galley took in an assist from Vladimir Tsyplakov and scored from the right circle at 13:00. It was Galley’s fifth goal and first since Nov. 15.

Ferraro later picked up a loose puck behind the Edmonton goal and followed up his own blocked shot for his second goal of the season at 15:43. It was his first since being sidelined twice because of injuries to his left knee.


“This was a character-type of game for us,” Galley said. “We came out and had a strong first [period] but in the second we let them come at us.”