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Kings crush Blue Jackets in L.A.

by Brian Compton
As far as responses go, this was pretty darn good.

Three nights after suffering a 4-2 setback against the Montreal Canadiens on home ice, the Los Angeles Kings came out flying on Monday as they chased Steve Mason during a four-goal first period en route to a 6-0 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Staples Center.

Six different players scored for Los Angeles (39-22-4), which pulled within a point of the Phoenix Coyotes for the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference. Jonathan Quick was asked to make only 11 saves for the shutout, as the Blue Jackets mustered only five shots through the first two periods.

The fewest shots allowed by the Kings in a game is 10 against the San Jose Sharks on Jan. 11, 1994.

"It was a great game for us," said Kings forward Alexander Frolov, who had a goal and three assists. "We knew we had to be better than we were the last couple of games. It was a great team effort."

Wayne Simmonds opened the scoring with his 15th goal of the season at 5:49 of the first, when he cruised down the right wing and ripped a shot from the circle past Mason. Drew Doughty then doubled the Kings' lead when his slap shot beat Mason at 13:24.

"We haven't played too well lately," Simmonds said. "Once we got the lead, Terry just said, 'Keep going, keep going.' I think that's what we did."

The onslaught continued as Michael Handzus and Frolov scored power-play goals just 41 seconds apart. Frolov's goal at 15:19 prompted Columbus coach Claude Noel to replace Mason with Mathieu Garon. Mason stopped only nine of the 13 shots he faced. Sixty-five seconds after he was pulled, Columbus forward Mike Blunden checked Kings rookie Rich Clune into the boards from behind and received a five-minute major and an automatic game misconduct.

Fredrik Modin scored his second goal in three games with the Kings since being acquired from Columbus last Wednesday, as he also connected on the power play 4:20 into the second period to give Los Angeles a 5-0 lead. Brad Richardson rounded out the scoring with his 10th goal of the season at 9:46. The Kings outshot the Blue Jackets 26-5 through the first two periods.

"It's always nice when you get a chance to score against your old team," Modin said. "I thought we played a good game. We got a good start."

Garon made 20 saves in relief of Mason. The Blue Jackets, who fell to 3-3-2 under Noel, were awarded four power plays in the third period but generated only six shots on goal. Captain Rick Nash left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return.

"That was embarrassing," Blue Jackets center R.J. Umberger said. "We didn't play smart. We are our own worst enemies out there."

Material from wire services and broadcast media was used in this report.

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