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A division title doesn't mean much to Detroit, Vancouver or the West's other perennial powers, but it would be uncommonly significant for the Kings, who have little to show for 4 1/2 decades of hockey.
The Kings joined the NHL in 1967 in the Second Six expansion, yet they won just one division title in their first 43 seasons. Los Angeles won the Smythe Division in 1990-91 during a 163-point season by Wayne Gretzky, but the Kings' 1992-93 conference title banner is the only other trophy hanging at Staples Center.
The Kings returned home after taking five points during a brutal four-game, six-day road trip that included back-to-backs in Edmonton and Minnesota, with a 3:45 a.m. flight arrival in the Twin Cities before a shootout loss on Saturday.
Carter missed his third straight game with a deep bone bruise in his ankle. Carter has nine points in 16 games since Los Angeles acquired him from Columbus.
NOTES: LW Ryan Smyth, who demanded a trade from the contending Kings back to the rebuilding Oilers in the offseason, has played in every game for Edmonton this season. He has 46 points this season after scoring 47 while playing in all 82 games for Los Angeles last season. ... Edmonton knocked Gretzky's Kings out of the 1991 playoffs. ... The Oilers return home Thursday against Anaheim, which lost to Edmonton on Sunday. ... David Beckham attended the game.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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