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Kings consider next step after first-round exit @NHLdotcom

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) - General manager Dean Lombardi sees progress in the Los Angeles Kings' back-to-back playoff berths. He also sees a danger of stagnation after their season again ended in the first round.

The Kings still haven't broken through the next barrier in their rebuilding project, falling to the San Jose Sharks in six mostly tight games.

After missing the postseason for eight straight years, the Kings finally are solid winners. Lombardi and coach Terry Murray now must figure out how Los Angeles moves to the next level of Stanley Cup contenders.

The Kings' brass agrees the club needs more offensive talent beyond All-Star forward Anze Kopitar, whose season-ending ankle injury put a huge asterisk on Los Angeles' brief playoff run.

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