They weren't exactly getting their hate on for Ryan Smyth when he took the Staples Center ice wearing an Oilers uniform.
More like a faint dislike.
The boos came later, and it had nothing to do with the old-school mullet sported by the former King. Smyth turned into Benedict Ryan when he scored in the second period. His goal turned out to be the game-winner as the Oilers beat the Kings, 3-0, on Thursday night.
Not only was it the winner, but it also was the first goal given up by the Kings' Jonathan Quick at Staples Center this season. It came when Smyth's centering pass went in off the stick of Kings defenseman Alec Martinez, and then Quick's helmet, at 11:26.
Smyth has scored six times, including a recent rush of goals — four in the last three games for the surging Oilers.
One team's surge is another's slump. The Kings have won one of their last five games and have not scored in their last two appearances at Staples Center, getting shut out by the Devils on Oct. 25 and Thursday by the Oilers.
"Like I said, if we don't score, we're not going to win," Kings defenseman Jack Johnson said. "If we had the answers for you, I don't think we'd be in this predicament. Why? I really wish I had a good answer for you, but I really don't."
Anger, not surprisingly, was in the air:
• From Kings star Anze Kopitar, who made impressive contact with the top of the net with an emphatic smash of his stick. This came after Corey Potter scored in the third period, making it 3-0 at 1:06 and ending any suspense the Kings could inch their way back.
• From Quick, who usually keeps his anger to himself. Quick immediately went after the officials, expressing his anger after the Oilers' second goal, scored by Lennart Petrell at 17:38 of the second period.
And it appeared as though Quick had reason for his rage.
Replays seemed to indicate that Anton Lander interfered with Quick in the crease. But Quick's protests went for naught and the goal stood. It was Petrell's first career goal, and the first career point for Lander.
Quick was short on specifics, saying: "That's between me and him [the official]. It happens. That's part of the game. You've just got to look past it, move on and make the next save. You deal with that all the time.
"Two games isn't a slump. We're playing good hockey. We could have played better today, but we played great hockey at Colorado. We just didn't end up on the right end of it."
• From Coach Terry Murray, who was visibly irritated when asked about how much of the team's performance was about the Kings being "uninspired out there."
"None of it," he said, curtly. "None. None."
Of course, it made complete sense that Smyth would score in his first game back at Staples since the Kings dealt him to the Oilers for Colin Fraser. Smyth requested a trade in the off-season, greatly surprising King executives.
But the Kings accommodated Smyth's request, leading to a long messy summer of back and forth between the Kings and the Oilers, and the issues are still lingering.
"It's nice to get the win," Smyth said. "That's first and foremost. I thought the team dug in and played a great game. … I had a short time here. Obviously, it was all right, nothing wrong with it. I just felt it was best for my family and moving on. It's always nice to win."
Said Oilers Coach Tom Renney: "At the end of the day he's an Oiler and he's a leader because of that, and he means an awful lot to us."
Times staff writer Helene Elliott contributed to this report.