Cammalleri productive in return

After being traded by the Kings last summer, Michael Cammalleri rented out his Hermosa Beach home to three members of this year’s team.

As it turned out, he played as if he owned the Staples Center ice too on Thursday night, scoring an early goal that Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff made stand up in a 2-0 victory over the Kings.

The loss, sealed on Rene Bourque’s empty-net goal with 36 seconds left, ended a four-game winning streak for the Kings. It was their third loss in three meetings with Calgary.

For Cammalleri, who led the Kings in scoring two years ago before an injury-marred 2007-08 season, it marked a sweet return.

The goal, which he slapped past goaltender Jonathan Quick after a cross-the-goalmouth pass from Todd Bertuzzi midway through the first period, was his team-leading 29th. That the announcement of his name afterward drew boos seemed to amuse Cammalleri.


“People in L.A., I don’t know if they understand I got traded,” Cammalleri said. “I didn’t leave.”

His departure left him with a 2,000-square foot home a few blocks from the strand. He put the word out through the Kings that he was looking for tenants, and newly acquired defenseman Kyle Quincey and rookies Wayne Simmonds and Oscar Moller were eager applicants for a house that was featured on MTV Canada’s “Cribs.”

“When I heard it was open, I was there,” Simmonds said. “It’s unbelievable.”

Simmonds wasn’t the only one looking forward to returning home. The Kings arrived from an 11-day trip to the East Coast having won four in a row, including victories at division leaders Washington and New Jersey. Having won seven of their last eight games, they’d moved to within three points of the final Western Conference playoff berth.

But the momentum didn’t follow them.

For that, they can thank Kiprusoff, who was stellar in a 3-2 overtime loss Wednesday in Anaheim, and even better Thursday.

Kiprusoff stopped 36 shots, including a pair of point-blank shots by Kyle Calder, the last one with a minute to play.

What left the Kings shaking their heads was that they couldn’t muster similar chances during a 1:54 stretch early in the third period when they had a five on three advantage.

The Kings looked indecisive as they moved the puck around at a glacial pace. As a result only two shots reached Kiprusoff during the two-man advantage, several more being deflected by Flames.

“When it’s five on three, you should be scoring,” Kings center Anze Kopitar said. “That was the game right there.”

Kings Coach Terry Murray was pleased with the effort, but said that his team should have put more people in front of the net. Too many of Kiprusoff’s saves were made with a clear view.

“When you have a goaltender that’s as good as Kiprusoff is, you have to make life more difficult for him,” Murray said.

For his part, Cammalleri apologized for some hardship that his three tenants have had to endure. The recent rains have sprung a leak in the roof that he’ll have to get fixed.

“I hope they’re enjoying it,” said Cammalleri, his smile revealing that he felt right at home.