Kings aim to sustain run in clash with Oilers

Kings aim to sustain run in clash with Oilers

Regular-season victories are all worth the same in the standings, but some are worth more mentally than others.As the Los Angeles Kings prepare to host the Edmonton Oilers on Monday, it follows Saturday’s impressive 5-1 victory over the Western Conference-leading Vegas Golden Knights.”They’re a good team and it’s a game in our division, so those are big games for us,” Kings goaltender Pheonix Copley said. “We’ve been playing really well defensively and cleaning up stuff, keeping things to the outside and we did that again. It’s huge for us.”The Kings are on an 8-2-1 run and finished a difficult three-game stretch. Prior to beating Vegas, Los Angeles defeated the Central Division-leading Dallas Stars and lost to the league-leading Boston Bruins. Two wins in three games against those powers is no small feat.”We played well in all of them,” coach Todd McLellan said. “Unfortunately, the Boston game got away on us a little bit, but it didn’t diminish the effort. We made a few mistakes and they capitalized. (Against Vegas) we were on the other side of that.”Helping the cause is not only the play of Copley — the goalie who started this season third on the depth chart is now No. 1 and won 10 of his 12 starts — but also a much improved offensive attack.Kevin Fiala collected his first hat trick of the season against Vegas and is settling in on a line with Gabe Vilardi and Blake Lizotte.”It’s a good sign,” McLellan said of the team’s chemistry starting to gel. “Kevin was snakebit for a while and he’s off that now. Hopefully things will start going in for him a little more regularly.”The Oilers are kicking off a four-game road trip through California before ending in Las Vegas. They are coming off Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche, the first meeting since the Avalanche swept Edmonton in last season’s Western Conference Finals.

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