<
>

Conan LeBarbera: Kings' goalie halts Oilers' streak

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The high-flying Edmonton Oilers got a reality
check from the Los Angeles Kings.

Dustin Brown and Joe Corvo had power-play goals, Eric Belanger
also scored and the Kings ended the Oilers' season-opening,
three-game winning streak with a 3-1 victory on Tuesday night.

"I think it was bound to happen. I mean, you're eventually
going to lose," defenseman Chris Pronger said. "What's important
is how we respond to the loss. That's going to be critical for us.
The makings of winning teams are how they return from a loss."

"We played three solid games and this is probably our worst of
the four. We needed to come up with a better effort. But for the
most part, I think everybody's pretty pleased with our start."

Jason LaBarbera made 23 saves for the Kings, who won their third
straight home game following an opening-night loss at Dallas. They
took a 2-1 lead on Brown's goal during a four-minute power play
after Edmonton captain Jason Smith received penalties for
cross-checking and roughing in a collision with Sean Avery near the
Oilers' net.

"At least we got some physical penalties," Oilers coach Craig
MacTavish said. "We've been taking a lot of penalties, but at
least there were some aggressive ones. Special teams have been
winning us games, but their penalty kill did a very good job
against our power play."

Brown, who scored 29 goals last season for the Kings' Manchester
team in the AHL, jumped on a loose puck that bounced past Pronger
along the left boards. He skated through the left circle before
banking the puck in off the skate of goalie Ty Conklin at 16:37 of
the second period.

"We got a couple of nice bounces. But in order for you to win,
you've got to get breaks like that," LaBarbera said. "The guys
did a good job of going to the net and we got two of our goals like
that. That should be our game plan every night."

Belanger scored an ugly goal at 1:16 of the third period,
increasing the Kings' margin to 3-1. Avery skated down the left
boards and threw a seemingly harmless shot toward the net, but
Conklin -- who finished with 32 saves -- juggled it and allowed
Belanger to tap in his second goal of the season.

"That was a bad goal from a bad angle," MacTavish said. "I
know Ty would like to have that one back, but he played very well.
He made a few five-star saves, but they got a break or two around
the net."

The Oilers, who killed off all seven Anaheim power plays in
Monday night's 4-2 victory, fell behind 1-0 the third time they
were short-handed against the Kings.

Marc-Andre Bergeron was behind his net with the puck and tried
to slap it around the boards, but Luc Robitaille intercepted the
attempted clearing pass along the right wall and fed it into the
slot. Corvo beat Conklin with a one-timer to the stick side from 25
feet at 13:33 of the first period while Edmonton's Ethan Moreau was
serving a roughing penalty.

Bergeron atoned for his costly turnover with his first goal of
the season about three minutes later while Belanger was off for
holding. He got a drop pass from Shawn Horcoff and sent a wrist
shot past LaBarbera's stick from the top of the left circle.

"I kind of got caught back too deep. I don't know," LaBarbera
said. "I might have been cheating a little bit, expecting the
pass, and he surprised me a little bit. It wasn't of one of my
better goals, but I was able to rebound from it and play pretty
good the rest of the game."

The Oilers had a great chance to break the tie about five
minutes into the second period when coincidental penalties to Avery
and Mike Weaver put the Oilers on a 5-on-3 advantage for two full
minutes. But they managed only two shots.

"As we told our guys this morning, from what we've seen, this
would be the best team that we've played this year so far. And I
still feel that way," Kings coach Andy Murray said. "They're one
of the top teams in the Western Conference. But we took advantage
of our opportunities, and our penalty killers stepped up."

Game notes
The Kings activated D Richard Petiot from injured reserve
and assigned him to Manchester. ... Kings C Jeremy Roenick has no
points in three games since scoring goals on his first two shots of
the season at Dallas. ... LW Ryan Smyth missed his second game
because of a sprained left knee. LW Todd Harvey also sat out his
second game with a bruised right foot.