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Kings Force the Oilers, Fuhr to Take Back Seat

February 07, 1988|JERRY CROWE | Times Staff Writer

It's not often that the Kings beat Grant Fuhr. In fact, in his seven-year career, Fuhr has lost to the Kings only 6 times in 28 decisions.

Rarer still is a night when the Kings chase the Edmonton Oilers' brilliant goaltender.

They accomplished both Saturday night, sending Fuhr to the bench by scoring three goals in 4 minutes 5 seconds of the second period in a 7-2 rout of the Oilers before a capacity crowd of 16,005 at the Forum.

"Did I look as bad as I thought I did?" Fuhr asked afterward.

Fuhr, who has started all but one of the Oilers' 55 games, called it a night with 9:55 left in the second period and the Kings holding a 4-1 lead.

It was the first time he had been pulled from a game since Dec. 2, when the Red Wings scored five goals on nine shots in the first period of a 7-4 victory at Detroit.

And, according to a King spokesman, Fuhr had never been chased from a game against the Kings, who are 6-20-2 against the all-star goaltender.

In gaining their fourth straight home victory, the Kings got two goals from rookie defenseman Ken Hammond and outstanding goaltending from Rollie Melanson, who stopped 35 shots. "You know that Edmonton's going to come at you," Melanson said. "They have a lot of power. I know if I go into a game against them and I don't stand on my head, it's going to be a six- or seven-goal game against me."

Actually, he did just about everything but stand on his head.

"I felt sharp," he said. "You've got to play with a little bit of fear against the Oilers."

The Oilers, playing their last game before sending six players to St. Louis for Tuesday night's All-Star game, came out aggressively, outshooting the Kings in the first period, 12-5.

Melanson stopped all but one of the Oilers' shots in the period, making at least a half-dozen spectacular saves.

"Some of the saves he was making, especially on the power play when we got out of position, really gave the team a big lift," Hammond said. "It carried over into the second period, when we came to life."

The one shot Melanson didn't stop gave Wayne Gretzky his 33rd goal.

Backpedaling through the slot with his back toward the net, Gretzky took a pass from Esa Tikkanen and lifted the puck over Melanson.

Dave Taylor pulled the Kings even with 5:15 left in the period, taking a drop pass from Bob Carpenter at the right point and firing a 40-foot shot that eluded Fuhr.

The Kings then took control of the game in the second period.

With 14 minutes left, Paul Guay chased down a rebound in the right circle, spun and slid a backhanded shot that glanced off the skate of defenseman Charlie Huddy and made its way through Fuhr's legs.

Only 58 seconds later, Jimmy Carson left the puck in the right corner for Paul Fenton, who passed to Hammond.

Hammond, alone in the slot, lifted a shot over Fuhr that glanced off the inside of the left post, landing in the net to give the Kings a 3-1 advantage.

Carson, after taking a pass from Luc Robitaille on a 3-on-1 breakaway, beat Fuhr to the short side with a 35-foot shot from the right circle, making it 4-1 with 9:55 left in the period.

Oiler Coach Glen Sather promptly called on backup Warren Skorodenski, who hadn't appeared in a game since his recall two weeks ago from the Oilers' American Hockey League affiliate at Nova Scotia, Canada.

"He missed some pretty elementary shots," Sather said of Fuhr. "I wanted to look at Skorodenski and it was 4-1 and I didn't think we could pull it out of the fire at that point."

Said Fuhr, claiming he wasn't tired: "It was one of those nights where I didn't have it. I didn't feel bad, but I didn't make any saves, either."

Robitaille beat Skorodenski for his 32nd goal with 1:29 left in the period, bringing the puck down the left side on a 3-on-1 breakaway and firing a tough-angle shot from the left circle into the lower right corner of the net.

Hammond scored again at 2:59 of the third period, knocking in a rebound to make it 6-1. Dan Gratton scored his first National Hockey League goal with 4:12 left, redirecting a shot by Lyle Phair.

Edmonton's Glenn Anderson provided the final margin, scoring with 26 seconds left.

King Notes

The sellout crowd was only the Kings' second in 26 home dates. The other was Nov. 7 in Marcel Dionne's return to the Forum as a member of the New York Rangers. . . . The Kings are 12-12-2 at the Forum. . . . The Kings' most lopsided victory over the Oilers was a 9-3 rout in the first meeting between the teams on Dec. 22, 1979. . . . Grant Fuhr was pulled in the third period of a game against the Kings this season, but the Oilers led at the time, 8-2, en route to a 9-2 victory.

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