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by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
The Kings dropped their second straight contest, by a 3-1 score to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Los Angeles Kings celebrated the 48th birthday of Kings radio analyst Daryl Evans. Evans, in his 10th season as the Kings radio commentator and a member of the Kings as a player from 1981-85, has seen the Kings post a 10-8-1 record on his birthday.

Cap Raeder, who was an assistant coach with the Kings from 1987-95 working under Robbie Ftorek, Tom Webster and Barry Melrose, works for Tampa Bay after following Melrose to the Lightning as the goaltending coach. Former King Rick Tocchet, who played for Los Angeles from 1994-96, scoring 31-40=71 with 187 PIMs, was named Interim Head Coach for the Lightning after the firing of Melrose on Nov. 14, after a 5-7-4 start. Tocchet is 8-12-6 in 26 games since taking over. Melrose coached the Kings from 1992-95, posting a 79-101-29 mark in 209 games, leading the Kings to the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals.

In the first regular season match-up of the first two picks in that year's NHL Entry Draft since Oct. 22, 2003, when Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury, the 2003 No. 1 draft selection, stopped 35-of-36 shots including four of Carolina's Eric Staal's shots, the 2003 No. 2 pick overall, in a 1-1 tie. It will also mark just the fifth pair of top picks to play each other in their draft year since 1990, the others being Fleury and Staal (2003); Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau (1997); Alexander Daigle and Chris Pronger (1993) and Owen Nolan and Petr Nedved (1990).

Doughty left the game due to a thigh contusion and did not return after the second period. Doughty finished the game scoreless without a shot on goal, with two hits and a blocked shot. Doughty was minus-2 for the game in 13:03 TOI. Stamkos meanwhile, finished with an first-period assist in 10:38, his first point in five games, after being a healthy scratch on Jan. 9 at Anaheim.

Don't forget to vote for the Kings Play of the Week for the week of Jan. 5-12...Kings Vision takes you to Dodger Stadium for the 2008 Meet the Player Party...Alexander Frolov had a two-game poinst streak (1-2=3) snapped and is one point shy of 300 for his career...Kings are now 6-15-3 all-time vs. the Lightning with with just one win at home - none at STAPLES Center - against Tampa Bay (1-9-2). Mike Smith is 4-0-0 against the Kings for his career, allowing just seven goals in four appearances...It was the third time Erik Ersberg was pulled this season, (Dec. 5 vs. Edmonton and Nov. 25 at Calgary), sixth time that Ersberg had surrendered three or more goals in 20 starts. Ersberg stopped 4-of-7 and was pulled from the game after 25:48, trailing 3-0...Peter Harrold notched his third goal of the season (all of which have come in the last nine games)...Anze Kopitar has 15 points in the last 18 games (6-9=15)...The Kings were 15-25-2 through 42 games last year...The Kings have only been out-hit 16 times in 42 games this season, They got out-hit tonight, 33-32...Tonight was the first time the Kings and Lightning played one another since Feb. 6, 2007.


(Re game recap): “Losing a game is always the most disappointing thing.  You can lose a game a lot of different ways.  You can lose where you play extremely well or you can lose where you play without the structure, without the system, and that seemed to be where we were at tonight.  The puck management and the decisions with and without the puck really cost us.”

(Re lack of effort in the offensive zone): “Well that was because we were unable to get the puck in on a consistent basis to have some kind of fore-check going.  We turned it over far too often at the offensive blue line and the gray zone, the five feet on either side, and when you do that you end up just chasing the game.”

(Re game recap): “We obviously didn’t get the full effort we needed tonight.  We need to come ready to work and move on.  It’s not about our X’s and O’s it’s about our willingness to do whatever it takes and tonight we didn’t have that.  We’re not a good enough team to rely on our skills.  We need to come ready work every night.” 

(Re on team meeting):  “We talked about what we need to do to become that team we can be.  I think it’s about our compete level.  We can’t have one or two guys competing.  We need all 20 guys competing.”

(Re: Drew Doughty): “He’s been one of our best defenseman all year.   When one of your key players gets hit like that you need to answer the bell.”

(Re game recap): “I think that we didn’t know until we came out that Drew was going to be out for the third period.  It’s only a two-goal game and you have to be careful.  A two-goal deficit isn’t insurmountable.  You want to be careful in doing something crazy and not get a five-minute major and let them get a three-goal lead and then you’re out of it.” 

(Re game recap): "I was proud of our defense.  They played a lot of minutes and did a great job for us.  Lukas Krajicek is starting to play really well and he is playing a lot of minutes.  In the second period Los Angeles started coming onto us, but we found a way to hold the fort and Smith made some great saves.  Smith has probably been our All-Star this year."

(Re Discipline of Evgeny Artyukhin): "When you are up three to one it's a good lesson, when you're in the playoffs you have to take a cross-check in the mouth or a punch in the mouth.  You always want to get your licks back, and I would love that but there are times and places for that and it wasn't the time and the place and he did a great job."

(Re Forward Evgeny Artyukhin): "He's a giant, a Russian tractor, but if he plays like that he's a force to be reckoned with.  He's more consistent and in the last month he's not been turning pucks over, not throwing pucks into areas where he shouldn't be and he's protecting the puck down low when he gets it.  He's a top player in this league, no questions asked.”

(Re game recap): "This win is a big part, the second part of the season and we're not out of it by any means.  And if we go on a run anything can happen so this is the time to do it and this is an important win for us."

(Re game recap): "We had a good solid effort and that's two in a row for us.  The main thing is we're looking for wins and getting back in the playoff hunt and Los Angeles was a team that we needed to get two points against and we're on the right track."

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