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Kings confident they can turn things around

Kings confident they can turn things around
Center Trevor Lewis, left, and defenseman Drew Doughty will try to help the Kings beat the New York Rangers on Sunday night and end a losing streak at six games. (Alex Gallardo / Associated Press)

Alec Martinez was making an analogy when describing the state of the Kings during this six-game losing streak.

“If you’re trying to start the car and the engine won’t turn on, obviously that’s frustrating,” Martinez said.

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He then lost his train of thought because teammates playfully distracted him as they walked by. That’s the Kings in a nutshell: They’re seriously concerned about this losing spell but calm and confident enough to allow for a light moment.Perhaps that’s because they’ve driven down this road before.

The Kings have a recent history of reversing losing streaks with a winning streak. They followed a 1-6-1 stretch in November with eight consecutive victories. Two seasons ago, the sky was falling with a 0-3 start and the Kings then ran off seven victories in a row.

This is their longest losing streak since eight consecutive losses in December 2007, which was followed by three consecutive victories.

“Quite frankly, we’ve been here before and we’ve probably been in a worse position than this before,” Martinez said. “There’s no need to panic but there’s some issues that need to be addressed and some concern that needs to be taken, and we will.”

A victory Friday would have vaulted the Kings from out of a playoff spot to second place in the Pacific Division. That’s how quickly the standings can change, and the Kings regret that the points they collected earlier this season have now been spent staying relevant in the race.

They’re in the middle of five games in seven days before the All-Star break. Saturday was mostly an off-ice workout day and coach John Stevens and the players hit on the same bullet points: They need a complete game from everyone, bodies in front of the net and an overall better fight in the slot area.

“We’ve got to be tougher in the hard areas along the wall, and we’ve got to be tougher in the hard areas inside the [faceoff] dots,” Stevens said. “It’s not about going there. It’s about going there with a purpose.”

Paul LaDue is ready

Paul LaDue has not gotten into a game since his recall Tuesday. It’s nothing he can control but he’s eager if called upon, especially to help out offensively from the back end. He has 17 points in 34 games in Ontario.

“That’s something I like to pride myself on is getting shots through,” LaDue said. “Down in Ontario, I ended up putting a few pucks in the net and I hope to get that first one up here and keep growing.”

Kevin Gravel has ably filled in on the third defensemen pairing but Stevens left open giving LaDue a look.

“We’ve not been totally displeased with the way the defense has played, especially [with Gravel] coming in,” Stevens said. “But we would like to get [LaDue] back in the lineup here at some point because I think he’s really improved.”

UP NEXT

VS. NEW YORK RANGERS

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When: Sunday, 7:30 p.m.

On the air: TV: FSW; Radio: 790

Update: The Rangers lost Kevin Shattenkirk to knee surgery and are without Chris Kreider but Kevin Hayes and Marc Staal could return from injury and perhaps Michael Grabner from the flu. Henrik Lundqvist played Saturday so it could be Ondrej Pavelec in goal.

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