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Fans Are Catching Playoff Fever

With their 3-2 victory at Toronto on Monday, the Kings moved within four points of clinching their first playoff position in five years--thanks to San Jose’s loss to St. Louis.

King fans have already responded as only 4,000 tickets remain for the team’s first two home playoff games even though they did not go on sale until last Sunday.

“We’ve had a real good response,” General Manager Dave Taylor said about the team’s playoff ticket sales. “The fans of Los Angeles are excited as we are. We haven’t been in the playoffs for [a while] and I’m sure they are looking forward to it.”

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The Kings’ power play may have came up empty on its first seven chances against Toronto but Garry Galley’s third-period goal with a man-advantage could not have come at a bigger time.

“It’s funny, we had [power play] problems [all game] but we scored at a key time,” defenseman Rob Blake said. “You can throw away those power plays when we didn’t do anything. We know that you have to have a good [power play] to be involved long in the playoffs because that wins games for you. You have to score at the key times.”

Coach Larry Robinson blamed the Kings’ tendency to attempt difficult plays for their lack of power play production.

“We just have to keep our game simpler,” he said. “If anything is going to be the death of me [our power play] will. For some reason we want to do everything the hard way. Hockey is such a simple game. I just don’t understand. . . . We had the right system [tonight], but it was our decisions with the puck. . . . it just frustrates the hell out of you.”

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To help make up for their power play woes, the Kings penalty kill played well in scoring goals by Glen Murray and Russ Courtnall.

“We got a couple chances, we took advantage of them and it won us the game,” said Murray, whose 25th goal of the season moved him into a tie with Yanic Perreault for the team lead. “Our power play stinks but our penalty killing is doing well. We know we have to do something about that.”


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