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Kings Notebook (Jan. 8)

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Oscar Moller was promoted to the Kings second line on Friday.
Oscar Moller's season didn't start particularly well, but it's been slowly, steadily improving, and Moller took another positive step Friday.

Updated depth chart

Left off the Kings' roster at the end of training camp, Moller had a strong start to this season in the AHL and now, given a chance with the Kings, he is playing himself into higher-profile situations, including some power-play time.

In Friday's practice, Moller skated as the second-line right winger, alongside left winger Alexander Frolov and center Michal Handzus. It's a role Moller is likely to fill on Saturday night when the Kings host St. Louis at STAPLES Center.

Moller, who has two goals and two assists in 16 games this season, mostly in a fourth-line role, had been skating with Frolov and Handzus in some power-play situations recently. Moller has two goals and two assists in 16 games this season, mostly in a fourth-line role.

"Fro and Zeus are really good at holding onto the puck, and I'm going to contribute the best way I can, with speed and shooting the puck a lot," Moller said. "A couple times on the power play, we've been working pretty good. Maybe not last night. Last night, we didn't execute on the breakout. That's why, I think, we didn't get set up in the zone very much, but it will be fun for sure. I'm looking forward to playing with those guys."

Brandon Segal, who had been on the line with Frolov and Handzus, went into the fourth-line mix Friday, along with Jarret Stoll, Raitis Ivanans and Teddy Purcell.

"I thought Seegs played pretty well last night, but we discussed it a little bit today, with the review and on the ice," Kings coach Terry Murray said. "There are areas of the game that he's very effective in sometimes, and then other games, like last night, he's doing most of it right, but not quite getting it stopped up on the forecheck.

"Puck possession is not established, and we've got to go back on tracking back to our end and start over again. I think that part of the game can become frustrating for a line, and I need better results, when everything else is being done right to get the puck in deep in the offensive zone, to come up with it, to get it stopped, to get it stalled, to get puck possession, to get support there for yourself.

"I thought that he was just missing out on it last night, so I'm hoping that with Oscar bringing the skill and that same attitude that all the big guys bring -- he's in there -- that we can get some success on the cycle and maybe more quality chances on net."

After practice, defenseman Randy Jones said he had been cleared to play, so it's up to Murray as to whether Jones will return to the lineup Saturday night.

Jones has been out since Nov. 15, when he collided with Edmonton's Dustin Penner and started suffering from headaches, dizziness and neck pain. Jones has been practicing for more than a week and said he is now symptom-free.

"I've been feeling really well," Jones said. "The doctors and trainers are happy with where I'm at right now, with anything that I've done. In all the practices and bike riding I've done, I've been symptom-free, so things are looking good. Now it's just a coach's decision as to when I'm back in."

The Kings are without defenseman Davis Drewiske, who is out with a shoulder injury. Alec Martinez did a solid job Thursday night, in his third NHL game. Jones is more of a puck-moving defenseman who could give the Kings a different look.

"I think he's right there," Murray said of Jones' status for Saturday. "He's had a couple days of practice now. He's got the green light to go after it. It's just a matter of getting physically ready to play the game. It comes down to his decision, my decision."

In a game in which the Kings generated 52 shots on goal but scored only once, in a 2-1 loss to Detroit on Thursday, there were plenty of so-close moments.

The biggest one might have been a free puck in the slot and a missed shot by Dustin Brown, who again is in the middle of a scoring drought. Brown, who went 14 games in parts of November and December without a goal, then scored three goals in seven games but now is stuck in a six-game goalless stretch.

Murray said he didn't have any extraordinary concern about Brown's recent lack of scoring.

"It's not really anything you're going to say to him," Murray said. "The important thing for Brownie, and for any player who goes through a slump -- I don't know if I'd call it a slump even. He ended up with about eight shots, so he's getting his opportunities -- is when you see a game like that, with the postgame numbers on the stat sheet, you want to reinforce that.

"I think we talked about that, as a group, after the game, with the number of shots we put up being frustrating. Not at all. You're going to have hot goaltenders. You want to continue to build on the number of plays we were making in the offensive zone and the shots on net, and maintain that kind of an attitude. That's all I can say to Brownie. `You're getting yourself in good position, good looks. The puck is there. It just rimmed out. Stay with it."'

The Kings' 52 shots Thursday were a season high, and Murray called the team's number of scoring chances "phenomenal," particularly against a Detroit team that doesn't often give up much.

"(Detroit's) offensive production is down simply because of circumstances now, with free agency and injuries," Murray said. "They're more structured to play a good defensive game now. Through the middle of the ice, they had four, five guys in that perfect look, so you have to make a strong decision and make hard plays. We did that, and as a result of that, we were able to maintain our speed to recover pucks and get plays going to the net."
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