Six of the last seven games have been decided by one goal. The Kings are seven points behind Nashville for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 13 games left to play.
"It's a playoff type atmosphere and every game means something," said Kings rookie forward Teddy Purcell who has seven points in his last eight games (3-4-7).
"We're not quite where the elite teams are in the league, but everyone has to go through that stage and we're headed in the right direction."
Face-off tomorrow is at 4 p.m., and here are some of the things being talked about today...
O'DONNELL REMEMBERS LAST BRUINS No. 1 SEED
Kings defenseman Sean O'Donnell remembers all too well the last time the Boston Bruins were the top squad in the Eastern Conference.
O'Donnell was a key fixture on the blue line for the '03-'04 B's squad that finished atop the Eastern Conference in the regular season with 104 points only to be bounced in the first round by the Montreal Canadiens, despite holding a 3-1 series edge.
"We felt like we were real good," he said. "Joe Thornton was playing hurt..he wasn't able to be as effective as he normally was. We were up on them 3-1, and we had the series. But, they won Game 5 in Boston, then won in Montreal and we lost Game 7 at home 2-0.
"I still thought going into Game 7, we were going to win the series."
He says that although his access to watching the Bruins has been limited this year, that he believes the '03-'04 squad was bigger and more physical while this Bruins team is deeper and quicker.
"They're fast, they're very fast," he said of this year's Bruins squad that has 99 points with 11 games left to play. "The team that we had with Thornton, Mike Knuble and Glen Murray was better at cycling, getting the puck in and crashing the net. This year's team almost seems more like the old Oilers teams from back in the 80's. They have good defensemen who move the puck quick and get it up to the forwards who can fly."
BRODEUR'S RECORD MADE TO BE BROKEN
Last night Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur became the NHL's all-time wins leader with 552 regular season victories surpassing previous record holder Patrick Roy with New Jersey's 3-2 victory over Chicago.
The age old adage is that records are made to be broken, but when all is said and done will the soon to be 37-year-old's estimated record of 650+ wins stand the test of time?
That was the question after Kings practice yesterday.
"You always say records are made to be broken, but this is going to be a tough one,"said Kings assistant GM Ron Hextall who amassed 296 career regular season victories.
Hextall said that the most amazing thing about Brodeur has been his consistency.
"I don't think you can look at the new era of the game and say there's been a goaltender who's been as consistent as Marty Brodeur. I think guys have been as good as him for a year or two or three or four even, but I'm not sure anybody can match his consistency. It's absolutely remarkable"
Kings rookie netminder Jonathan Quick who grew up a Rangers fan in Hamden, CT an hour-plus from the swamps of Jersey said he got to see a lot of Brodeur in net as a kid.
"I saw him a lot when I was younger," said Quick who is 16-12-1 with a 2.65 GAA for LA this year."That would be quite an accomplishment (for a goaltender) to get near that number. But, sooner or later all records are made to be broken."
THE EAGLE SOARS AT BU
Kings defenseman and Boston College standout Peter Harrold stepped onto the sheet this morning in Agganis Arena the home of the archrival from his college days the Boston University Terriers. Meanwhile, not to far by in the stands sat Kings special assistant to the GM Jack Ferreira and Kings NCAA scout Steve Greeley--both reknowned BU hockey players.
BC and BU will meet in the Hockey East Semi-finals on Friday night at the TD Banknorth Garden.
"BU is having a good year, but this is the time of year BC tends to peak,"said Harrold who was on the '06 BC team that made it to the NCAA championship game. "It should be a good game, but I'm sure the Eagles will win."
Ferreira was a goaltender and part of the "building stages" of BU hockey that began in the mid-sixties and had him sharing the ice with current Terriers head coach Jack Parker in the '65-'66 season where BU won the beanpot.
"When they go against BC, you can throw (all the past) out the window, because both teams get so pumped up to play each other."
He plans to have a gentlemanly wager with Harrold on the contest,"We've had discussions. It will be something."
Greeley who played with the Terriers from 2000-'04 put the BC-BU rivalry in perspective for Los Angeles sports fans.
"To me, BU was always the best program in the country," he said. "The closest (college rivalry) I could come up with would be USC-UCLA or USC-Notre Dame football."
Compiled by Chris Ryan | Special to LAKings.com