Thrill ends at three

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

LOS ANGELES -- How long has it been since the Edmonton Oilers opened a season with four consecutive wins?

Well, as a point of reference, the season they last turned the trick, Wayne Gretzky had 215 points, the best total of his career. The four straight wins, Oct. 10-18, 1985, was in the books a full eight months before a future Oiler named Robbie Schremp was born.

Twenty years and one day later and packing a power play that had been hot as a $3 pistol, the Oilers came calling on the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center last night looking to turn back the clock to the days when the Great One and Company put together streaks like this just for fun.

A nice refresher on Oiler history, it turns out, but nothing more as the Kings flexed some power play muscle of their own and parlayed a tough night by Ty Conklin into a 3-1 decision.

Three will have to do.

"It's tough chasing from behind when you're on the road," Chris Pronger said of the Oilers second straight struggle to start a game. "It's a matter of us bearing down and trying to play a more disciplined game."

The Kings holstered the Oilers power play - ranked fourth in the NHL coming into the game - in six attempts, and found some holes in Edmonton's penalty killing, poking two pucks behind Conklin with the man advantage.

Joe Corvo opened the scoring on a power play and Dustin Brown made it 2-1 with a softy from a sharp angle that found its way between Conklin's skates at 16:37 of the second period and stood as the winner.

Conklin capped a forgettable night 1:16 into the third when he failed to get a handle on Sean Avery's shot from the boards and Eric Belanger chipped it in for a 3-1 margin.

"The second one, I got caught cheating a little bit," Conklin said of Brown's winner. "He was coming down and he looked like he was going to pass. I realized right before he shot that he was shooting.

"That usually doesn't go in, even the way I played it. I definitely should have had it."

As was the case in Anaheim Monday, the Oil played themselves into a hole early. Trailing 2-0 to the Mighty Ducks after 11 minutes, they went down 1-0 when Corvo one-timed a slapper past Conklin at 13:33 on a failed clearing attempt by Marc-Andre Bergeron.

"A bad start again," lamented coach Craig MacTavish. "A sloppy start. We got away with it in Anaheim and tried to get away with it again tonight. We cut some corners early on in the game. You can't start games on the road the way we're starting them."

Trailing 10-2 in shots, the Oilers stopped slacking and pulled even three minutes later when Bergeron made amends by sifting a wrist shot behind Jason LaBarbera.

The goals by Brown and Belanger, though, were the Oilers undoing. Neither puck had any business finding the back of the net.

"Bad goals," Conklin said. "Both of them."

BACK IN THE ECHL: Mike Morrison had the best numbers among Oilers' goalies during pre-season, but he's back in the ECHL today. There's no place in the AHL for Morrison.

With Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers in Hamilton and the Oilers without their own AHL farm team, Morrison, who was 2-0 with a 0.48 goals against average and .978 saves percentage, has reported to Greenville.

AROUND THE RINK: Todd Harvey (ankle sprain) and Igor Ulanov (ribs) were scratched for the second straight game.


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