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Kings Notebook (Dec. 6)

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Guess who's back? Terry Murray indicated at practice today that Oscar Moller will be recalled later this afternoon.

In search of more scoring from the top two lines, the Kings on Sunday called up forward Oscar Moller from Manchester, and Moller will presumably be ready when the Kings host Calgary on Monday night.

This will be Moller's second stint with the Kings this season. He got called up in mid-October, when a severe case of flu ran through the team during a road trip, and played sparingly in two games.

That could change now. Entering Sunday, Moller led the Monarchs in goals (eight) and points (18) in 25 games, and given the Kings' recent lack of scoring up front, Moller might get a chance to contribute.

First-line center Anze Kopitar hasn't scored a goal in 12 games and second-line forwards Dustin Brown and Teddy Purcell have gone without a goal in 13 and 25 games, respectively.

Size and strength are the question areas for Moller, who is listed at 5-foot-10 and 186 pounds, but Moller does have a scoring touch. Last season, he had seven goals in 40 games with the Kings but had his season interrupted by a shoulder injury he suffered in the World Junior Championships.

After Saturday's shootout loss to St. Louis, Kings coach Terry Murray indicated that he would have a meeting with Kopitar, who led the NHL in scoring before his recent scoring slump.

Murray called off practice for most players Sunday, but held a series of player meetings, including the promised meeting with Kopitar. Murray characterized the meetings as talking "about how everyone is doing, how they're feeling, some feedback on what I'm seeing in the last several games, bringing awareness to good things and stuff that needs to be refocused."

In particular, Murray shared one aspect of his meeting with Kopitar.

"The one thing I can share with you, that I think he needs to bring a big focus to," Murray said, "is to shorten things up, get into the habit again of high-intensity, shorter shifts, to regain that flow in your game.

"I think that sometimes -- and I'm not necessarily saying this was part of the conversation -- in general, players feel that they need to stay longer, do more, be great, 'I've got to get it done now, this shift,' and the attitude with that is, it usually snowballs the other way on you. Simplify, get very focused, keep the shifts short in most every situation, and it starts to come that way."

In the third period Saturday, Murray changed up his lines. Kopitar centered Dustin Brown and usual fourth-line forward Brad Richardson, while Jarret Stoll centered Alexander Frolov and Justin Williams.

That was a big step up for Richardson, who has scored a goal in three consecutive games. Purcell had only one shift in the third period, after playing most of the first two periods on the second line.

"I started with Teddy there," Murray said. "I thought his first period was pretty good. He was digging in and blocking shots and got a few hits and was pretty comfortable with the puck. But as you get into that close game, tie game, one-goal game, I'm looking to be very responsible on the checking side, and I like what Richie has been doing over the last dozen games or so. So you make that change for that reason."

By the end of this month, the Kings will have become quite familiar with the Calgary Flames.

The Kings and Flames have already met once this season, a 5-2 Calgary win on Nov. 21. They play again Monday night at STAPLES Center, again on Dec. 17 in Calgary and then again on Dec. 30 in Calgary. In one of those scheduling quirks, the Kings and Flames will be done with each other after that.

The Kings will look for a better effort against Calgary than their last one, a game in which Jarome Iginla scored 13 seconds into the game and went on to record a hat trick.

"They're a good hockey club," Murray said. "Their back end is as good as anybody in the league. Their goaltending is first-rate and they have Iginla, who is a world-class guy who scored three on us here at home. They play hard. They're playing a very intense game, like they did last year against us.

"They played hard in every one of those four games, so we need to bring that game that I've been talking about, which is our best, in order to give ourselves a chance to win at the end of the day. They're a very strong counter-attack team, with their defensemen joining, and we've got to have a checking mentality again."

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