Murray Expects Effort to Pay Off

Times Staff Writer

The old hockey rule of thumb, put the puck on net, hasn't been the problem for the Kings.

Putting the puck in the net has been harder to do.

The Kings have basically doubled their opponents' shots on goal the last two games, but they have scored only three times. They didn't win either game and have lost four of five.

The Kings outshot the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday, 38-15, including a 31-9 advantage in the final two periods, but lost, 3-1.

Same story last Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Kings had more shots, 46-24, but fewer goals in a 3-2 loss. They outshot Chicago in the final two periods, 37-8.

"We have missed nets, no question about it, when we've had opportunities," said King Coach Andy Murray, who was pleased with Thursday's effort. "Our message to our team [Friday] morning is if we play as hard as we played [Thursday] night and compete as hard as we competed and play as physical as we played, that you have to feel you win the majority of the games if you play that way.

"I don't know when we've played better and lost in the five years I've been here."


Goaltender Roman Cechmanek allowed an iffy goal midway through the second period Thursday and was yanked, but Murray expected Cechmanek to be sharper tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes.

"Roman will be right back in there," Murray said. "He's our guy. We expect him to be better. He wants to be better. It's very difficult for us to win if he's not."


vs. Phoenix, 7:30, Fox Sports Net

Site -- Staples Center.

Radio -- KSPN (710).

Records -- Kings 4-5-0-0, Coyotes 3-3-3-0.

Record vs. Coyotes (2002-03) -- 4-0-1-0.

Update -- Phoenix has had a symmetrical season, winning its first three games, losing its next three and then tying three in a row before losing 4-1 Friday to Vancouver. .

Tickets -- (888) 546-4752.

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