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Edmonton Oilers focus on defence with Los Angeles Kings in town

Los Angeles Kings' Tobias Bjornfot (33) chases Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97) during second period NHL action in Edmonton, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

It’s the start of a new 10-game segment for the Edmonton Oilers Friday night against the Los Angeles Kings, and the team is preaching a renewed focus on reducing goals against.

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“We’re giving up too many goals right now,” head coach Dave Tippett said. “We’ve been giving up some goals that I don’t think our goaltenders weren’t giving up early. We’ve been chasing some games where I don’t like the way we play when we chase the game.

“You’ve got to take chances to get back in the game, but the chances we’re taking, they’re not giving us any advantage. We’re giving up some goals there.”

“You have to compete in the defensive zone. If you want to spend time in the offensive zone, you have to play good defence,” centre Gaetan Haas said.

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The Oilers have lost three of their last four and were beaten 5-2 by Ottawa on Wednesday.

Mikko Koskinen was pulled after allowing three goals on 12 shots and replaced by Mike Smith. Koskinen will start against the Kings, making it the first time this season an Oilers goalie has started three straight games.

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“We need him to bounce back. We’ve had a couple of games where Smitty’s been done, and we’ve given him the opportunity to bounce back. Kosk is going to bounce back tonight,” said Tippett.

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Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (hand) and Zack Kassian (back) won’t play as they continue to recover from injuries.

The Oilers and Kings are on 630 CHED with the Face-Off Show at 5:30 p.m. The game starts at 7 p.m.

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