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Surge Begins With Passmore

This all started as a march to oblivion.

The Kings were going to wind their way through St. Louis, Dallas, Detroit and Denver, then return to Southern California with a winless streak grown to 10 games, with a sub-.500 record, with the playoffs looking like mountains as viewed from the desert.

The goaltending was abysmal. The defense was, well, offensive.

They had lost at home to Atlanta and Tampa Bay, and on the road at expansion Minnesota.

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And then the Kings won Thursday at St. Louis, beating a team that was 11-0-1 in its last 12 games.

And they won Friday at Dallas for the first time since 1995.

“It’s a strange game, a strange sport,” Coach Andy Murray said.

A team that gave up seven goals to Atlanta gave up five total to San Jose, St. Louis and Dallas.

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It’s no secret why, just as it’s no secret that Steve Passmore will be in goal again tonight, for the fourth game in a row.

“He’s got a day of rest [Saturday],” Murray said. “He should be ready.”

It will be the third game in four nights for Passmore, the fourth game in six nights.

Fatigue would be a given.

“Yeah, like that might ever come out of my mouth,” said Passmore, who is having the time of his life while giving up only five goals and stopping 83 of 88 shots in the last three games.

He is the focal point, but not the only reason the Kings have rebounded from the 0-5-1 misery they took on the road.

“We’re starting to learn to play without some guys,” defenseman Mathieu Schneider said. “We don’t have Ziggy [Palffy] and ‘Muzz’ [Glen Murray], and we’ve had to learn to play without them.

TONIGHT

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at Detroit, 4 PST

Fox Sports Net

* Site--Joe Louis Arena.

* Radio--KSPN (1110).

* Records--Kings 17-13-7-1, Red Wings 21-13-3-3.

* Record vs. Red Wings--0-0-1.

* Update--Igor Larionov wouldn’t play for Detroit again as long as Jim Devellano, the team’s senior vice president, was around. Then Larionov found something worse in Florida, which made it easier to waive a no-trade clause and rejoin the Red Wings on Thursday. A night later, he was a 40-year-old center (the oldest player in the NHL). Larionov celebrated with a goal and an assist in a 3-2 overtime loss to Chicago.


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