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KINGS NOTEBOOK (MARCH 25)

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
The Kings, who flew to Dallas late last night after falling at St. Louis 2-0, returned to the ice today for a 45-minute practice at the Dr. Pepper StarCenter Farmers Branch, a facility located 15 miles outside of Dallas.


The Kings were unable to practice at the American Airlines Center as the Dallas Mavericks were preparing to host the Golden State Warriors tonight at 7:30 p.m., an important game for the Mavs, who are holding a slim three-game lead over the Phoenix Suns for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot with 12 games remaining in the NBA season.

In fact, two other pro teams are staying at the Kings hotel tonight, as the Kings are joined by the Warriors with the Denver Nuggets set to fly into Dallas, following their game at the New Orleans Hornets tonight.

The Kings bussed from the team hotel to the American Airlines Center, where they used the visitor’s locker room to put their equipment on and then bussed 15 miles to the practice facility for their 45-minute practice. After practice, the Kings returned to the American Airlines Center where they showered and changed before returning to the team hotel.

NO CHANGES FOR KINGS
There were no changes in the Kings lines or the defensive pairings while Jonathan Quick is scheduled to start at Dallas on Thursday. Quick stopped 20-of-22 shots in the Kings 2-0 loss at St. Louis on Tuesday.

“We need a bigger push in critical times in games,” said head coach Terry Murray when reflecting on the loss at St. Louis. “We need better management of the puck, both passing and receiving the puck needs to get better. Our forecheck cycle was working well at times, but the team gets into a mind set where they feel they can do things better and that takes them away from what has been working.

“We need to recognize how to build on things and how to keep things going, rather then to change things.”

POWER(LESS) PLAY IN ST. LOUIS
Prior to last night’s meeting in St. Louis, the Kings had converted 6-of-12 power-play chances in beating the Blues the previous two meetings, but were 0-for-6 Tuesday night despite getting some good chances, particularly early in the game.

Murray thought the St. Louis penalty kill was the biggest factor in the team’s loss on Tuesday.

“The penalty kill of St. Louis created a lot of momentum and life for them and they built on that,” Murray said. “The kill was especially strong at the end of the second period which really gave them momentum in the third.”

Keith Tkachuk picked up a tripping penalty at 16:48 of the second period and the Blues actually out-shot the Kings on the ensuing power play, 2-1, with St. Louis’ defensemen blocking two additional shots.

THREE KINGS APPEAR IN NHL.COM’S PLAYS OF THE WEEK
Kings netminder Jonathan Quick had two highlight-reel saves that cracked the top-10 in the NHL for the week ending March 24.

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Quick’s save on Bill Guerin at Pittsburgh on March 20 earned him the No. 8 ranking for the week, while his stop of Blake Wheeler on a breakaway March 19 at Boston topped out at No. 4 for the week.

SAVES OF THE WEEK
1 Brodeur - NJD
2 Biron - PHI
3 Vokoun - FLA
4 Quick - LAK
5 Mason - STL
6 Nabokov - SJS
7 Osgood - DET
8 Quick - LAK
9 Kiprusoff- CGY
10 Khabibulin - CHI

In addition, Denis Gauthier and Derek Armstrong earned top-10 rankings for hits for the week ending on March 24. Gauthier flew through JP Dumont of the Predators on March 16 to earn the No. 10 spot, while Armstrong rocked Boston’s Andrew Ference on March 19.

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HITS OF THE WEEK
1 Campbell - CHI
2 Ott - DAL
3 Reasoner - ATL
4 May - TOR
5 Gleason - CAR
6 Wideman - BOS
7 Armstrong - LAK
8 O'Brien - VAN
9 McGinn - SJS
10 Gauthier - LAK
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