LOS ANGELES -- For a team attempting to claw their way back up the standings, the Edmonton Oilers are hardly in a position to give goals away.
Yet last night they gift-wrapped three in a 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center.
"That's part of trying to deal with the fact we're a young team," said Oilers goaltender Dwayne Roloson. "We have to understand that if we do make a mistake, it's not the end of the world. I think we're doing the right things, it's just unfortunately the little things are costing us. But we're young and we're getting better and that's a good sign."
CAUGHT ON THE PINCH
Denis Grebeshkov got caught on a pinch at the blue line for the Kings' first goal. Tom Gilbert gave the puck away on the second and Roloson was beaten on a bad angle for the third.
It was all the scoring the Kings would need as the Oilers created a lot of chances, but could not find the net when they most needed to.
"To me as a coach, there's nothing more frustrating than having an offensive-zone faceoff and seven seconds later you're digging the puck out of your own net," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "I hate giving up a three-on-two in those situations. That's just a clear execution error on a number of fronts.
"You just can't have it. The margin of error is too fine without self destructing in those situations."
Jarret Stoll scored the lone goal for the Oilers in the contest, stepping into a cross-ice pass from Ales Hemsky and blowing it past Kings goaltender Jason LaBarbera.
With a concussion having brought his season to a premature end last year, it was Stoll's first goal since Jan. 10.
The goal was just the Oilers third power-play marker of the season, but the second in as many games.
"I needed that," Stoll said. "Hopefully my game can pick up a little bit and take off a little now. But a win would have been nice too."
Stoll's goal opened the scoring with under five minutes to go in the first period.
The Kings tied it later in the period when Grebeshkov was caught lunging for a puck at the Los Angeles blue line.
Patrick O'Sullivan was able to poke it past the Oilers defenceman and broke out on a two-on-one with Ladislav Nagy.
After carrying the puck down the ice, O'Sullivan stepped into a shot which Roloson got a piece of, but not enough to keep it from going in.
In the second the Kings took the lead when Nagy got a stick on Gilbert's pass out of the corner, picked up the puck, cut to the net and slid a back-hand past Roloson.
Anze Kopitar extended the lead later in the period beating Roloson with a weak shot from the corner that the Oilers goaltender allowed to slip in on the short side.
"It hit the side of the net, bounce up and hit me behind the leg," Roloson said. "Obviously those goals can't go in. We're down by one at that point and it's a momentum swing. I have to be better in those situations."
LEBARBERA TOOK OVER
After that, LaBarbera took over, turning away all 15 shots he faced as the Oilers tried to mount a furious comeback.
The Kings goaltender robbed Andrew Cogliano on an attempted wrap around, then stood up to Raffi Torres on the doorstep.
LaBarbera finished with 34 saves.
O'Sullivan added his second late in the period, converting a rebound in front of Roloson.
"It was a game that's been a real cross-section of what we've been through in the last 10 games," MacTavish said.
"That's it in a nutshell where at the end of the game, you've moved the puck pretty well, you put yourself in position to score but you don't."