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Superstitions Extend to Coach

Maybe it’s the pacing, which is wearing out a carpet at Staples Center.

Maybe it’s the “OK, Rob, give the guys a stretch.”

Maybe it’s leaving the locker room the same way, every game.

It could be Andy Murray’s coaching, unless you’re into the occult or looking for some sort of mystic reason for the Kings’ success through their first 25 games.

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Virtually every player has a superstition, whether it’s tying his skates a certain way, taping his stick just so, putting the right glove on before the left. But while the Kings are dealing with their own quirks, they are watching one of the quirkiest coaches they have run across.

“He has his superstitions,” said Bryan Smolinski of Murray. “He does a lot of things the same way, and we love it. As long as it’s working and we know it’s coming, it’s great. . . . We love it. It’s awesome.”

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Once the game starts and the superstitions are past helping, numbers take over, and those numbers support the Kings’ success.

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* They lead the league with 82 goals, and even with a recent 0-for-29 slump on the power play, they are tied for fourth in man-advantage goals with 20.

* They are scoring economically, with only 661 shots, a 12.41% success rate. Only Pittsburgh at 12.57% is better.

* Their goal since Day 1 of training camp is emblazoned on T-shirts in the locker room: “Tough to Play Against.” Their Western Conference-leading 732 hits are evidence that this is accurate.

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Ziggy Palffy has a four-game point streak in which he has three goals and two assists. He has nine goals over his last 12 games and has climbed to fifth in league points with 27.

His 12 goals have been scored on only 60 shots, a phenomenal 20% efficiency rate.

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Other streaks:

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* Glen Murray has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his last seven games.

* Bryan Smolinski has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in his last nine games.

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The Kings took off Monday but return to practice today with aerobic testing before going onto the ice. They do not play until Friday’s game with the Mighty Ducks at the Arrowhead Pond.


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