SUN Hockey Pool

Wake up in L.A.

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

LOS ANGELES -- Perhaps, there's more to do.

With GM Kevin Lowe having delivered a double-whammy of a wake-up call yesterday, you'd expect the Edmonton Oilers to have filed into the Staples Center last night with their eyes wide open. Not so.

On a day Lowe shook things up by trading Cory Cross and Jani Rita to Pittsburgh for Dick Tarnstrom, then dealt Tony Salmelainen to Chicago for Jaroslav Spacek, it took the Oilers the better part of 40 minutes to snap out of their slumber against the banged up Los Angeles Kings.

The injury-riddled Kings, playing without regulars Jeremy Roenick, Pavol Demitra and Valeri Bure, gave the Oilers all they could handle before Raffi Torres, Ethan Moreau - with the winner shorthanded - and Todd Harvey scored third-period goals to salvage a sometimes sloppy and listless effort in a 5-3 win.

"It's always tough playing back-to-back," said Moreau, tied for the league lead with four shorties. "We rely on a lot of energy.

"A lot of it, you've got to expect. I think, overall, we played well if you look at the fact it was back-to-back games."

Winners of just three games in their last 10 before they doubled up the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 6-3 on Thursday, the Oilers started fast, but fumbled and faded before Moreau, who'd gone 18 games without a goal, made amends 6:17 into the third period.

Mike Morrison made Moreau's goal stand with 25 saves as the Oilers won back-to-back games for the first time in over a month.

"I don't even know what to say to you guys any more," said Torres, who has struggled mightily. "It's been a stressful month-and-a-half. It feels like 25 pounds off my back and my shoulders."

The Oilers didn't waste time getting going as Ryan Smyth made it 1-0 just 34 seconds in with a gimme tap-in of a Chris Pronger rebound on a power play, but that wasn't a sign of things to come.

When Luc Robitaille tied it off a Radek Dvorak turnover and Craig Conroy put the Kings up 2-1 shorthanded at 9:31, taking a chip-out by Alexander Frolov and sifting a snapshot low past Morrison on the glove side, the Kings looked to be on the move.

"They've had a lot of injuries over the last few years. It seems like forever," Oilers coach MacTavish said of the stubborn Kings.

"They're battling through a number of injuries, but they continue to play well. It's a real testament to their system play."

When Dvorak made amends for his turnover, lifting a backhand over Mathieu Garon at 11:40 for his first goal in 10 games to get the Oilers to the second intermission even, it was game on.

Torres, who'd gone 10 games without goal, and Moreau made it 4-2 before Mike Cammalleri cut the lead to one. Then came Harvey, who'd gone 15 games without goal, blowing a one-timer past Garon with less than five minutes to play to dress things up.

RANGERS PITCHING: It's no coincidence the New York Rangers have had scouts Gilles Leger and Peter Stephan keeping tabs on the Oilers three straight games, including this one - Glen Sather is pitching goaltender Kevin Weekes to Lowe. The Oilers aren't interested.

SHORT UP FRONT: The Oilers have just 12 forwards on the roster, but insist they'll stand pat for now.

That won't last long. They'll have to move one of their eight defencemen or three goaltenders by way of assignment to the minors or via trade to add a 13th forward. The likeliest candidate for a call-up is J.F. Jacques.

AROUND THE RINK: Tarnstrom and Spacek will join the Oilers in Phoenix and be available to play against the Coyotes Sunday.


Videos

Photos