Despite their 5-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday in front of an announced crowd of 16,954 at Staples Center, the Kings had officially been eliminated from playoff contention before the thirdperiod. By virtue of Calgary’s shootout victory over St. Louis, the Kings became the first team in the NHL to have their playoff hopes dashed this season. Of course, the Kings’ exclusion from the postseason – for the fourth consecutive season – has long been a foregone conclusion, so they had to settle for a victory and a bit of California hockey history. With his first-period goal, winger Noah Clarke became the first California-born player to ever score a goal for the Kings. Clarke, a native of La Verne, was playing in his 15th NHL game. “I remember going to junior tournaments and people would kind of sneer (at California players),” Clarke said. “I’ve been working hard in the last few games and it just feels good to get the first one.” Kings goalie Mathieu Garon, winless in six starts since Jan. 6, earned the victory. Michael Cammalleri scored two goals as the Kings broke a five-game losing streak. Rob Blake, who had missed four games with a strained groin, returned and had a goal and two assists and Lubomir Visnovksy had three assists. “We’re not that far away,” Garon said. “It seems like we’ve been playing well and end up losing 3-2. The last 15games, it seems like one goal could have made a difference.” The Oilers, expected to be a Stanley Cup contender this season, have fallen into 11th place in the West and have lost eightconsecutive games, so they were the perfect prey for the increasingly young Kings. Peter Harrold and Shay Stephenson were returned to the American Hockey League during last week’s trip, but Clarke and Gabe Gauthier remain as the Kings are still without Anze Kopitar (back) and Derek Armstrong (knee). Clarke and Gauthier are both Southern California natives, but Clarke has been up and down with the Kings over the past twoseasons while Gauthier didn’t make his NHL debut until Sunday. Another NHL neophyte, winger John Zeiler, is making a good impression on coach Marc Crawford, and with four weeks left in the season, some roster spots for next season could start to be solidified. “I have optimism personally,” Cammalleri said, “and I know the young guys have optimism and don’t think it will take as long (to turn things around) as some people think.” The Kings took the lead for good just 2:05 into the game. Dustin Brown whiffed on a shot from the left of the net but the puck slid to Clarke, who fired a shot from the middle of the faceoff circle. Clarke’s shot, to the far post, cleanly beat Edmonton goalie Jussi Markkanen to give the Kings a 1-0 lead. [email protected] (818) 713-3611 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Do you believe in miracles? If you’re a Kings fan, don’t bother. At least not this season.