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The Edmonton Oilers‘ season ends in less than two weeks and both the club and Connor McDavid are looking to go out with a flourish.
McDavid and the Oilers begin a stretch of three home games in four nights on Saturday night when they face red-hot Anze Kopitar and the Los Angeles Kings.
Edmonton (33-36-5) returns to Rogers Place after taking three of four from Eastern Conference foes, capped by a 6-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. The line of McDavid, Ty Rattie and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins combined for four goals and five assists.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles (41-27-7) is one of five teams fighting for the final three Western Conference playoff spots. If the Kings lock down a berth, odds are Kopitar’s production will be a huge reason why.
Kopitar recorded the first four-goal game of his career in a 7-1 rout of the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday. Before Kopitar’s career night, no Los Angeles player had a four-goal game since Luc Robitaille on Nov. 25, 1993, in Quebec.
Kopitar is winding down the finest season of his 12-year career. Selected 11th overall in the 2005 NHL Draft, Kopitar already has career highs with 53 assists and 86 points. He’s also tallied 33 goals — one short of tying a career best set in 2009-10.
Sport fueling creativity in this live mural by @never1959 as he’s #HereToCreate at the @adidas flagship store in Santa Monica 🔥@adidashockey ✖️ #adizero#GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/unL3XNNwoL
— LA Kings (@LAKings) March 24, 2018
Since 1997-98, only Robitaille (88 points) and Ziggy Palffy (89) have had more points in a season than Kopitar. Both players did it in 2000-01.
“He’s really been really good all year, but this trip, he’s been tremendous,” Los Angeles coach John Stevens said of Kopitar, who has recorded points in nine of his last 10 games. “Even in Winnipeg (a 2-1 overtime loss on Tuesday), I think he deserves a lot of credit for the point that we got there.”
Kopitar has a goal and four assists in the series against Edmonton in 2017-18.
Jonathan Quick has stopped 53 of 57 shots while winning two games on the road trip. Jack Campbell, who has never faced the Oilers, made 36 saves in the shootout loss to the Jets earlier this week.
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The Kings, who lead Anaheim by one point for third place in the Pacific Division, are 6-0-2 in their last eight on the road dating to Feb. 17. They’ve also alternated wins through the first 11 games in March.
Following this contest, the Oilers face the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday before wrapping up the homestand on Tuesday versus the Columbus Blue Jackets.