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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.

"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

rebound.

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

period.

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.

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