(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Kings look to give their playoff chances a boost on Thursday night as they return home to take on the Edmonton Oilers at Staples Center.
The Kings dropped the final two contests of what ended up as a 3-2-0 road trip, losing Monday's finale 4-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks. Los Angeles fell three points behind the Calgary Flames for third place in the Pacific Division and are two back of the Winnipeg Jets for a wild card position.
Los Angeles does have a game in hand over Calgary and Winnipeg. The Jets are idle on Thursday, while the Flames are visiting the St. Louis Blues.
Defenseman Jake Muzzin had his team's only goal in Monday's loss, while Jonathan Quick made 36 saves in the defending champs' first appearance in Chicago since winning Game 7 of the Western Conference finals last June 1.
"Got to win games, got to win out," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "You don't 'lose and you win' in this league, especially the way the divisions are set up."
Complicating matters for the Kings is the loss of defenseman Andrej Sekera, who suffered a lower-body injury near the end of the second period of Monday's setback. Sutter has already said Sekera, acquired in a trade with Carolina on Feb. 25, is out for this game.
Quick figures to draw the start tonight and is an excellent 13-1-5 lifetime versus the Oilers with a 1.54 goals against average and .939 save percentage.
The Kings have won eight of their last nine versus the Oilers overall and seven of the past eight played in Los Angeles.
Edmonton had a three-game win streak snapped with last night's 5-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored for the fifth time in seven games, while Ben Scrivens yielded all five goals on 27 shots in defeat.
"We know that these guys jump up hard with their defenseman and for whatever reason we weren't prepared for that," noted Nugent-Hopkins. "Mentally I don't think we were picking guys up. They're a good team. Obviously you can see where they are in the standings and how many points they have. If you're not sharp against a team like this, they're going to take advantage of that."
Goaltender Richard Bachman was unavailable for Wednesday's game due to a death in the family and Scrivens could be called upon again tonight. He is 1-2-0 with a 3.69 GAA and .895 save percentage in four games (3 starts) versus the Kings.
Edmonton remains 28th out of 30 teams in the NHL with 59 points.