Daily News Quinton Byfield leads Kings past Oilers

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LOS ANGELES — Two goals and an assist from Quinton Byfield helped propel the Kings and their newly-named head coach to victory on Saturday.

Making his NHL head coaching debut with the team he first stepped on the ice with as a player, Jim Hiller’s hungry group made a strong statement regarding what the remainder of the season can bring, stifling the Edmonton Oilers 4-0 at Crypto.com Arena.

Goaltender David Rittich secured his first shutout in a Kings uniform thanks to 27 saves plus 25 blocked shots from his teammates who struggled after a torrid start to the season, eventually costing Todd McLellan his job on February 2.

After a nine-day break when the Kings could physically and mentally recover before attempting to regroup under Hiller, they welcomed the Oilers. After making their own coaching change in November, Edmonton turned into the hottest team in the league, finally losing this week in Las Vegas following 16 consecutive wins under Kris Knoblauch.

Playing the latter contest in the first of eight back-to-back contests after the All-Star game, Edmonton was squeezed by the rested Kings, who put in an intense and energetic hour against the Oilers.

After a scoreless first period, the Kings got on the board thanks to an early power play.

The inconsistent Pierre-Luc Dubois made his presence felt with his physical forechecking before collecting a second-period pass from Jordan Spence inside the right circle and snapping a knuckler under the armpit of goaltender Stuart Skinner for his 11th goal of the season.

Forty-nine seconds later, the Kings made it 2-0 when Byfield stole the puck from three-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner Connor McDavid along the boards in the defensive zone. The Oilers star captain, fresh off a three-assist performance, was far less effective at Crypto.com Arena than he was at the Honda Center.

Byfield then barreled down the length of the ice with his head up. Giving Trevor Lewis a chance to get into the play, Byfield’s 22nd assist of the season came on a centering pass behind a pair of Oilers when Lewis roofed his seventh goal.

Playing with speed, intensity and physicality, the Kings leaned on their penalty kill and their goaltender to hold Edmonton scoreless.

Halfway through the second period, the Kings goalie showed up big, stretching wide in a full split to stone defenseman Corey Perry on the doorstep. He also denied a rebound attempt aimed between his legs by Evander Kane, who scored a hat-trick against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.

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Rittich also delivered during three penalty killing sequences during the back-half of the second period, including a pair for too many men on the ice.

Byfield increased the Kings advantage at 7:08 of the third by cleaning up a rebound. An empty-net contribution at 17:18 then lifted Byfield to 16 goals on the season.

The result moved the Kings (24-15-10, 58 points) to within three points of the third-place Oilers (30-17-1, 61 points) in the Pacific Division.

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