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04/06/2013 7:36 PM EDT
Jeff Carter leads LA Kings past Edmonton 4-1
LOS ANGELES 4, EDMONTON 1

By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Although the Los Angeles Kings have proved
home-ice advantage means absolutely nothing to them in the
playoffs, they're still pushing toward a prime position for
their Stanley Cup defense.



Jeff Carter had a goal and an assist, Jonathan Quick made 23
saves, and the Kings kept moving forward in the Western
Conference race with a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on
Saturday.



Mike Richards and Slava Voynov also scored for the reigning NHL
champions, who have won five of seven to climb back into fourth
place in the West.



The Kings took the lead against Edmonton 98 seconds in and never
surrendered it, grinding out another methodical victory.



"We've always got work to do, but we're playing solid at home,"
said Carter, the NHL's third-leading goal-scorer. "We're making
it hard on teams, and we made it hard on all their best guys
today."



Last year, the eighth-seeded Kings won the first two games on
the road in all four playoff series while steamrolling to the
franchise's first title.



That doesn't mean they wouldn't mind an improved seeding this
year - and with the NHL's compacted schedule, Los Angeles can't
afford to stop pushing.



"At this point in the season, you take a peek (at the standings)
once in a while," said Anze Kopitar, who had an assist. "The way
it is right now, every time you win a game, you move up, and
when you lose, you move back down. ... We just have to keep
going."



Los Angeles is eight points behind Pacific Division leader
Anaheim, its opponent in Sunday's Freeway Faceoff. Kings coach
Darryl Sutter essentially conceded the Pacific race to the
Ducks, although his players might have other ideas.



"When you get off to that type of lead, it's impossible to make
it up, so we just concentrate on us," Sutter said of the Ducks,
who got off to a 22-3-4 start to the season.



Carter scored his 22nd goal and Voynov got his first goal in 17
games, with both scores coming on Los Angeles' long-struggling
power play.



Drew Doughty added an empty-net score, just his second goal of
the season, as the Kings improved to 12-1-6 in their past 19
meetings with Edmonton, which hasn't made the playoffs since
2006.



Quick also performed well in his first victory since March 28.
The Conn Smythe Trophy winner is facing a challenge for playing
time from backup Jonathan Bernier, who has won nine of his past
10 starts while compiling some of the NHL's most impressive
statistics, capped by a shutout of Minnesota on Thursday.



Magnus Paajarvi scored and Devan Dubnyk stopped 35 shots for the
Oilers, who have lost two straight after a five-game winning
streak to fall out of playoff position.



"You don't win the Stanley Cup if you don't find ways to
continually raise your level as you go along, and that's
something we're learning to do," Oilers center Sam Gagner said.
"I think guys have figured that out the more they play in these
games, but we have an opportunity here. We've got 10 games left
to fight our way back into it."



Center Jerred Smithson made his debut with the Oilers, who
acquired the faceoff specialist in a trade with Florida this
week. Smithson had stayed in Florida after the trade for the
birth of his son Thursday.



The Kings scored on their first shot for the second straight
game when Carter collected a turnover and fed the puck to
Richards, whose wrist shot beat Dubnyk. Carter then scored
during a power play late in the period when captain Dustin
Brown's pass toward the net hit him.



Carter's 22 goals are third in the NHL and tops in the Western
Conference. Los Angeles' power play had scored in just one of
the previous eight games.



"They start playing well at this time of the year," Dubnyk said
of the Kings. "They're a big team, and they play hard. They
consistently bring bodies to the net, they crash and they
screen, and they throw pucks to the net. They stick to what they
do, and we can certainly learn a lesson from that. Things just
continue to get tougher from here on."



Doughty scored just his second goal in 38 games from his own
blue line in the final minute.



NOTES: Carter's assist on Richards' opening goal was just his
fifth of the season. That's why the NHL's third-leading
goal-scorer began the day 68th in total points. ... Edmonton LW
Ryan Jones was scratched for the first time since March 15 to
make room in the lineup for Smithson. ... Kopitar got
accidentally clipped in the face by Brown's stick in the second
period when Edmonton's Ladislav Smid grabbed Brown and spun him
around. Kopitar stayed down for a long moment, but wasn't hurt.
... Kings D Alec Martinez was scratched for the second straight
game since Robyn Regehr's arrival in a trade with Buffalo.
Rookie C Tyler Toffoli also was scratched for the second
straight game in favor of Colin Fraser.

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