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by Thomas LaRocca / Los Angeles Kings
On Monday night, Michael Cammalleri did it again.

For the fourth time this season, the second time over the last six games and the eighth time in his career, Cammalleri tied his career high with two goals in the Kings 5-1 win over Edmonton.

This should be no surprise to anyone watching the Kings this year as it has been a season of setting career marks for the 24-year old center.

But don't tell that to Cammalleri.

"I just play hockey," the Richmond Hill, Ontario native said. "I just focus on playing the game. My father kind of always taught me to not listen to people talk about how good you are and just keep working on your game."

The work is starting to pay off.

In 2005-06, Cammalleri set career highs with 26-29=55 in his first full campaign in the NHL. This season, Cammalleri has emerged as a point-per-game player, scoring 29-40=69 in just 69 games this season, already much improved on his totals from a year ago, when he appeared in 80 games.

And those two back-to-back 20 goal seasons are on the heels of winning the Willie Marshall Award (awarded to the Top Goal-scorer – AHL) after scoring 46-63=109 in 79 games at Manchester in 2004-05.

Add that together and the Kings second round choice (49th overall) in the 2001 NHL Entry draft has scored 101-132=233 in his last 229 professional games.

"I learned a lot down there and it made me a much better hockey player and a better person. It was a real fun year and it was a good year for my development," Cammalleri said about his time at Manchester. "It was great to play a lot of hockey and have a lot of responsibility."

"I now value experience so much and the more experience you get, the better hockey player you become."

Some other numbers that stand out are his five game-winning goals, his team-leading 13 power play goals and his plus-8 plus/minus rating, which ranks second on the team, a team that has been outscored by 45 goals.

"I have always tried to play the game that way, ever since I learned how to play the game," Cammalleri said of his two-way play. "But that stat is a funny stat. I attribute it more to having good line mates and teammates."

Cammalleri and his teammates have been playing much better of late.

Since a 4-1 loss to Calgary on Jan. 30 dropped the Kings to 17-30-6 with 40 points in 53 games, the Kings have posted a 6-4-7 mark for 19 points in 17 games. Cammalleri has scored 9-14=23 over that span.

"I've said ever since we began rebuilding, or whatever people are calling it, this is not going to take as long as some people think," Cammalleri told Kings beat writers after the Kings defeated Edmonton on Monday night but were eliminated from the playoffs. "You can see the young talent we have here."
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