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ROYAL ROAD REPORT: SIMMONDS SCORES

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings

CALGARY - The Los Angeles Kings hope to bounce back with a better effort against the Edmonton Oilers following a disappointing 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Monday night.

Wayne Simmonds scored the lone goal for the Kings (32-36-11), who lost all four games they played against the Flames (45-28-6) this season.

"Calgary played well," said L.A. Coach Terry Murray. "They’re desperate to solidify a position in the playoffs and they’re getting themselves ready. They played hard considering they’ve got a lot of guys out of the lineup, a lot of injuries."

The two teams battled to a scoreless draw after the opening frame, before Calgary took a 2-1 lead through two periods on goals by Daymond Langkow and Jarome Iginla. Former Kings forward Michael Cammalleri drew assists on both the goals.

"They’ve got guys that are stepping up and playing well," Murray said. "They played better than what we did. They dug in, they battled hard and they won almost all of the board battles."

Like they did on Nov. 26 when the beat the Oilers 2-1, the Kings will be looking to rebound with a victory in Edmonton the night after a loss in Calgary to the Flames.

"I’m sure that’s what Calgary would like," Murray said. "We have an opportunity to bounce back against Edmonton. We go to Vancouver and then back home against San Jose. Those are going to be big games for us to figure this out and play harder."

SIMMONDS STEPS UP
One positive sign for the Kings was the play of Simmonds, who broke out of a 10-game goalless drought to score the seventh goal of his rookie campaign.

"Wayne Simmonds competed hard, he battled hard," Murray said.  "He was one of the positive guys. He came in and competed and battled hard here tonight. For a 19-year-old, he did a pretty good job.

Simmonds, who also got in a spirited first-period fight with Calgary’s Warren Peters, said he’s ready to put in another solid effort against the Oilers in back-to-back games in Alberta.

"All I can really do is try to play the same way that I did tonight," said the 6-foot-2, 181-pound rookie forward. "You’ve got to come to the rink every day and be prepared to play. It’s a 20-man unit game in and game out and that’s what we’ve got to bring to the table."

CLOSED-DOOR MEETING
Following the disappointing setback, the players held a closed-door meeting for about 20 minutes before fielding questions from the media.

Afterwards, a visibly upset Dustin Brown said the Kings have to learn how to play against playoff caliber teams like the Flames.

"I think they were the hungrier team all night," said the Kings captain. "This was a huge game obviously for the Flames. We need to be a lot more excited and hungry as a team. It was disappointing tonight."

NOTES: The Kings have now gone seven straight games without winning at the Saddledome, while Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff has a 9-1-0 record in his past 10 games against the L.A…When Simmonds scored at 10:47 of the second period, it ended a span of 90 minutes and 57 seconds that the Kings were held scoreless against the Flames dating back to a 6-2 loss in Calgary on Nov. 25… Kings forward Justin Williams played in his 500th career NHL game.

QUOTES
Terry Murray

On L.A.’s three remaining games this season:
"We’re trying to win every game. We need to learn how to compete at this kind of intensity. These are playoff-ready teams that are going to dig in and do the right stuff. It’s an important time for us as a young group of guys to go through the experience and making sure that we’re pushing ourselves."

Wayne Simmonds
On L.A.’s play in the second and third periods:
"We were just really lackadaisical. We came out and we played individual hockey and that’s not how you can play in this league. You play individual and that’s what happened, you get burned."

On scoring his first goal in 10 games:
"It always feels better when you get a team win."

Dustin Brown
On staying positive after being eliminated from playoff contention:
"It’s a challenging thing, but at the same time you look at these teams that are in playoff positions. This is a time for us to gain a little experience. These are playoff games for us as well as for Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton. They’re all trying to fight to gain position for the playoffs. We need to look at these as chances for us to gain experience which will be helpful next year."

Anze Kopitar
On bouncing back with a better effort against the Oilers following a sub-par effort:
"We’ve got to play a lot harder than we did tonight. Simply put, that was not good enough. Myself and the other guys, we can play a lot better hockey. That was definitely not the L.A. Kings that can play for 60 minutes. We didn’t compete hard and we didn’t make the easy and the smart plays. I think that’s what cost us the game."

Compiled by Laurence Heinen | Special to LAKings.com

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