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HELENE ELLIOTT

Fredrik Modin savors Kings' 6-0 win over Columbus

He has a goal and an assist as L.A. rides a four-goal first period to a victory over his former Blue Jackets teammates.

March 09, 2010|Helene Elliott

When the Kings acquired forward Fredrik Modin from Columbus last Wednesday for a conditional seventh-round pick in the June draft, they never specified the condition.

Here's the scoop: The Blue Jackets will get the pick if the Kings win the Stanley Cup but will get nothing if the Kings don't win Lord Stanley's trophy this season.

The Kings probably won't have to surrender that pick. But they will have a shot in the playoffs -- and Modin will have the satisfaction of knowing his goal and assist in a 6-0 rout of his former team Monday at Staples Center helped carry the Kings closer to their first postseason berth since the 2001-02 season.

Alexander Frolov scored a goal and tied a career high with three assists, and Michal Handzus contributed a goal and an assist as the Kings, who had lost their previous two games, scored three power-play goals and outshot Columbus, 35-11, the easiest NHL shutout Jonathan Quick has recorded.

"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. They took a lot of penalties that we were able to capitalize on early in the game and it kind of snowballed from there."

The Kings scored four times in the first period, tying their season high for most goals in a period and chasing starting goalie Steve Mason.

Modin created the chance on the first goal with a cross-ice pass from deep in his own zone to Wayne Simmonds, who dashed in on the right wing and let loose a hard wrist shot from the right circle that beat Mason to the glove side at 5:49, Simmonds' first goal in eight games.

Frolov won a battle behind the Blue Jackets' net to keep the puck alive on the Kings' second goal. He managed to nudge it to Handzus, who fed Drew Doughty in the high slot. Doughty blasted it past Mason at 13:24 for his 13th goal this season.

Frolov said he was invigorated by a visit to Laguna Beach during the Olympic break, and he showed his energy Monday. "We know our strengths, and we just follow it," he said.

Brawny winger Rick Nash, a standout for Canada at the Olympics, drew a double-minor penalty for high-sticking Rob Scuderi and the Kings scored on each minor penalty.

Handzus made it 3-0 at 14:38, after Anze Kopitar sent the puck through the crease and to the left post. His shot glanced off Mason's glove and body before landing over the goal line. Just 41 seconds later Frolov made it 4-0, dashing into the zone, taking a pass from Randy Jones and slapping it over Mason's glove from about 50 feet. "Ever see him skate that fast?" Kings Coach Terry Murray said of the maddeningly inconsistent Frolov. "He played an outstanding game."

Mason was then replaced by former King Mathieu Garon, who was tested when his teammates put the Kings on a five-minute power play at 16:26. That resulted when Mike Blunden got a five-minute penalty and game misconduct for checking Richard Clune from behind and was ejected.

The Kings converted one more power play, when Modin scored on a deft backhand while he cut from the left circle into the slot at 4:20 of the second period.

"Handzus is just a great center and able to find holes and good at holding on to the puck," Modin said. "Me and Simmer are just trying to get open for him to make some plays."

Brad Richardson made it 6-0 at 9:46 of the second, poking home the rebound of a shot by Jarret Stoll. By then, the Kings had a 22-4 edge in shots and Nash had left the game because of a lower-body injury, increasing the indignity for the Blue Jackets as their winless streak stretched to five.

"That was embarrassing," forward R.J. Umberger said.

Predictably for a coach who has emphasized defense, Murray was happiest with the team's defensive effort. "That was the most important part of the game for me," he said. "Winning by a score like that does good things for your confidence."

helene.elliott@latimes.com

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