Oilers-Kings Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 02, 2011
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After being traded from the Edmonton Oilers during the 2006-07 season and spending the last two years with the Los Angeles Kings, Ryan Smyth wanted to return to his native Alberta. The Oilers couldn't be happier with the leadership and scoring boost the veteran forward has provided their young lineup this season. The team he just left could use some of that production. Smyth tries to help the Oilers win six straight for the first time in over nine years when he faces his former Kings teammates for the first time Thursday night in Los Angeles. Drafted sixth overall by Edmonton in 1994, Smyth was with the organization until a surprising 2007 deal sent him to the New York Islanders. He played the rest of that season on Long Island before spending two years with Colorado and 2009-11 with Los Angeles. Smyth had 100 points during his stint with the Kings - he was their top scorer from the left wing last season with 23 goals and 47 points - but he requested a trade to return to Edmonton. The Oilers (7-2-2) acquired Smyth from Los Angeles in June for Colin Fraser and a seventh-round pick in 2012, and it hasn't taken long for the 35-year-old to get used to playing in Edmonton again. Smyth is tied with Jordan Eberle for second on the team with 10 points, and he scored twice in Sunday's 4-2 victory over St. Louis to match Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - the NHL rookie of the month in October - for team-high goal-scoring honors with five. "He's such a good leader. He's just an Oiler," coach Tom Renney said. "I'm very proud of the fact that it means so much for him to be here." Taking their lead from Smyth, the Oilers - the league's worst club in each of the last two seasons - are tied atop the Western Conference with 16 points. Edmonton will try to win six straight for the first time since a 6-0-0 run March 14-26, 2002. The Oilers have played just three times on the road (1-1-1), and this contest starts a six-game trip and a stretch of 10 of 12 away from home. The Kings (6-3-2) will try to avoid a season-high third straight loss as they begin a stretch of 13 of 18 at home. The likely return of Simon Gagne, acquired in July to help replace Smyth, could give the Kings a much-needed scoring boost. With the left wing out the last two games with a mid-body injury, Los Angeles scored four goals on 71 shots. "We've got to try to generate more," center Jarrett Stoll told the Kings' official website following Sunday's 3-2 loss at Colorado. Los Angeles will also likely need a solid effort from Jonathan Quick - 5-0-2 with a 1.67 goals-against average in seven starts versus Edmonton - as it takes on an Oilers squad that's 6 for 23 on the power play and has outscored its opponents 14-6 during its winning streak. "As a D core, I know we're going to take a lot of pride in shutting them down in the next game, and I know Quickie is going to do a great job as well," defenseman Drew Doughty said. "So we're looking forward to that game, to play Smytty again, and it's going to be a lot of fun." Los Angeles might not feel that way after facing Nikolai Khabibulin, who is 5-0-2 with a league-best 1.12 GAA. The Kings won both home meetings versus Edmonton in 2010-11 after losing the previous five times - all in a shootout - the Oilers were in town.
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