Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar (11), of Slovenia, moves the puck followed by Edmonton Oilers defenseman Theo Peckham (49) and Los Angeles Kings left wing Ryan Smyth (94) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Los Angeles, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Jason Redmond)
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - For a team that set a franchise record by winning its first eight home games, the Los Angeles Kings started to look like a club that would rather play far away from its booing fans.
The Kings lost six of the first seven games on their homestand before winning the finale 5-2 against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. Jarret Stoll led the way, scoring the go-ahead goal in the second period and adding an empty-netter.
"It was very important, as frustrating as this homestand was," Stoll said. "You've got to win any way possible and stop the bleeding, otherwise it snowballs very quickly. There's been a lot of losses here lately, but we're going in the right direction. There were a lot of games where there were positives, but we didn't get the right result."
Marco Sturm, Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty also scored and Jonathan Bernier made 24 saves for the Kings, whose only other victory during the homestand was a 6-4 decision over Columbus.
"If we didn't come out with this one, I think lips would be dragging on the floor," forward Justin Williams said. "We had to treat this like a playoff game when we were up 3-2. Points right now are far too important to let slip, especially with the way we've been playing. So you have to bear down a little bit more.
"You have to earn your breaks, and I think we earned them."
Andrew Cogliano and Dustin Penner scored for the Oilers (14-22-7), who have the worst record in the Western Conference. They failed to score on five power plays and are 0-for-33 since Taylor Hall's goal against the Kings on Dec. 23.
"I can play the fourth line as a power-play unit. They'd probably be just as good—and the third line, too," Oilers coach Tom Renney said.
Kings captain Dustin Brown was sent off for tripping goalie Devan Dubnyk at 4:47 of the second period. Seconds after Brown left the penalty box, Sturm sent him a pass in the neutral zone—resulting in a 2-on-1 rush—and Stoll beat Dubnyk to the glove side to snap a 2-2 tie.
"Marco and Brownie both made good plays on that goal," Stoll said. "Sometimes you can catch the opposing team sleeping a little bit if you're moving the puck hard and fast. It was just a good heads-up play."
Penner opened the scoring at 6:02 of the first, backhanding the puck past Bernier from just outside the left post while the goalie was on his knees.
Sturm tied it at 11:13, and the Kings took their first lead about 3 1/2 minutes later on a 2-on-1 rush. It began when Williams played the puck off the boards in the Kings' zone after a wide shot by defenceman Tom Gilbert. Williams carried it into the Oilers' end before setting up Kopitar's 16th goal, capping off one of several impressive transition plays by Los Angeles.
"We need to focus on that. We have a lot of offensive weapons on this team, and the only way we're going to be able to use them is with our speed," Williams said. "They're a team whose defencemen are very active in the offensive end, so if you're smart and play well in your own zone, you might get some odd-man rushes. We had a few and we were able to capitalize on them."
Edmonton pulled even at 15:56 of the first when Liam Reddox got in the way of an attempted clearing pass by Rob Scuderi behind the net. The puck bounded to Ryan Jones, who set up Cogliano's wrist shot after the turnover.
"We had a decent start, and we felt after the first period that we might be able to come after this team and get ourselves a win," Renney said. "But too many turnovers allowed L.A. to feel a little more comfortable about their game. They got some odd-man rushes and spent too much time in our own end."
Kings forward Wayne Simmonds was injured at 1:19 of the second period during a scuffle that ensued after Doughty levelled Hall with a clean shoulder hit as Hall carried the puck along the left boards in the neutral zone. Penner went after Doughty, Simmonds jumped into the fray, and Ales Hemsky tackled Simmonds.
"I can't comment on something that was that quick," Renney said. "I'd have to see the hit again. I love the fact that we jumped in there. I don't care if it was a legal hit or not. I like the fact that as a team, we were on top of it."
The previoussix meetings between the teams in Los Angeles were decided in shootouts, with Edmonton winning five.
NOTES: Rogie Vachon, who holds all the Kings' goalie records, was honoured in a pregame ceremony. ... The Kings wore uniforms with the team's original purple and gold colours and the familiar crown on the chest. ... Kopitar, the Kings' lone NHL All-Star representative, ended a nine-game goal drought. He went a career-worst 13 games without a goal last season. ... Dubnyk, who stopped 41 shots in a 5-2 win at San Jose on Thursday, made consecutive starts for the first time since a three-game stretch in November when Nikolai Khabibulin was sidelined because of a groin injury. ... The Kings are 14-0 when leading after two periods.