ST. PAUL, Minn. — A 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday lightened the mood among the Kings, ending a three-game losing streak and giving them an 8-6-2-2 record despite playing 12 of their first 18 games on the road.
"It allows us to go into the last two games of this trip with the knowledge that we're going back home with at least a .500 record on the season with arguably the toughest schedule in the National Hockey League to start the season," Coach Andy Murray said.
"We've had a few people out but we're working our way through it."
After playing the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday and the St. Louis Blues on Thursday to wrap up an eight-game trip, the Kings will return home to a more favorable schedule, playing five of six games at Staples Center.
Their only road game during that time will involve a short bus trip Nov. 29 to play the Mighty Ducks at the Arrowhead Pond.
They'll play nine of 16 games at Staples Center in January, 10 of 15 at home in March. And they expect to have Jason Allison back in the lineup in February, when they make their only other trip of longer than three games, a five-game journey through Philadelphia, Buffalo, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio.
Ziggy Palffy, who hadn't scored since opening night, was a bit sheepish about ending his 10-game goal-scoring drought with an empty-net goal Saturday.
Murray said he deserved better.
"I told Ziggy after the second period, 'If you work as hard as you're working tonight and you're around the puck as much as you've been, you'll get three goals in the third period,' " the coach said. Palffy led the Kings with seven shots on goal. "If he's around the puck like that, it's going to go in for him."