Simmonds fuels Kings past Oilers

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Whatever slim hope the Edmonton Oilers
had of making the playoffs was put in danger by Wayne Simmonds
and the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night. Then the St. Louis
Blues made any chance disappear.

The Kings forward had a goal and an assist as Los Angeles beat
Edmonton 2-1. Coupled with the Blues’ 5-1 win over the Phoenix
Coyotes later Tuesday, the Oilers were officially dropped out of
playoff contention.

Fernando Pisani had the lone goal for the Oilers, who started
the game slowly with 19 first-period giveaways.

“The last two games are going to be tough to play,” said Oilers
forward Sam Gagner. “It’s a pretty bad feeling in here after
coming into this season really excited to get it going, and then
hovering around the middle of the pack for a while and faltering
in the end. It’s a tough thing to deal with.”

The Oilers can blame themselves for missing out, losing seven of
their last nine games.

“We faltered at the worst possible time of the year,” captain
Ethan Moreau admitted. “The last couple weeks we didn’t get the
results, regardless of how we played. We put ourselves in a
position of having to win games. It’s very disappointing.”

Alexander Frolov also scored for the Kings, who have won two of
their last three.

“We talked about finishing out the year strong,” said Kings
defenseman Matt Greene. “These last three games are huge for us.
We’re just trying to make sure we have some good compete out
there and are playing hard.

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“It’s just part of the game,” added the former Oiler. “We’re
going for points here, we’re not going to lay down for anybody.
Just another game for us.”

Edmonton was in a hole right from the opening minute. The Kings
scored just 55 seconds in when Dwayne Roloson let in a soft goal
through his legs on an unscreened point shot from Frolov.

Less than three minutes later the Kings went up 2-0 as Michal
Handzus sneaked up behind defenseman Denis Grebeshkov and
stripped him of the puck in front of the Oilers net. Handzus had
his shot stopped, but Simmonds was there to put home the

The Kings more than doubled Edmonton in the first-period shot
column, 14-6.

“We just didn’t have any jump at all at the start,” Oilers coach
Craig MacTavish said. “It was just a terrible start, virtually
from everybody.”

Edmonton started to get going in the second period, coming
within inches of scoring on a point shot from Steve Staios that
went off goalie Jonathan Quick’s glove and just missed rolling
into the net.

The Oilers finally scored with 3:31 left in the second period as
Grebeshkov’s shot was tipped by Pisani and bounced off Kings
defender Denis Gauthier and into the net.

Edmonton reversed the shot totals with a 19-7 edge in the second

The Oilers continued to pressure in the third session and came
close to tying with seven minutes to play as Andrew Cogliano
sent a shot through the crease during a mad scramble in front.