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KINGS REPORT

Injuries Taxing on Defensemen

March 12, 1998|LONNIE WHITE

It's a good thing the Kings have depth at the defenseman position because they lost another one to injury Wednesday when Aki Berg was ruled out for tonight's game against Toronto because of a right-wrist sprain.

Berg, who has played in 24 consecutive games, was injured in the second period of the Kings' 4-3 win at Phoenix on Tuesday. With fellow defenseman Doug Zmolek already on injured reserve because of a shoulder sprain, the Kings can't afford to have Berg (listed as day to day) sidelined too long.

Rob Blake, Mattias Norstrom and Sean O'Donnell already have logged more than 20 minutes of ice time each in three consecutive games over a four-day period.

*

Thanks to a 13-3-3 run over their last 19 games, the Kings have nearly secured the fifth playoff spot in the Western Conference, but they realize they have to finish off teams better than they did in wins over the Mighty Ducks and Phoenix.

"We're not fooling each other thinking that we've played great hockey the last two nights," center Ray Ferraro said. "But they are two games that we couldn't have won last year. Everybody knows that we're going to have to play a whole lot better, but we know why we didn't play well and what we need to do to change that."

Tonight

vs. Toronto

* 7:30

Site--Great Western Forum.

Radio--XTRA 690 (AM).

Records--Kings 30-22-11; Maple Leafs 22-33-8.

Season record vs. Maple Leafs--1-1.

Update--The Kings have won three in a row and need 10 victories over their remaining 19 games for their first 40-win season since 1990-91. Blake has scored nine of his 18 goals on the power play. Goaltender Stephane Fiset, 22-16-8 and 8-2-1 in his last 11 home starts, needs one more win to establish a new season high. This will be the last game of a three-game trip for the Maple Leafs. Mats Sundin leads Toronto in scoring with 25 goals and 55 points over 62 games.

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