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KINGS REPORT

Visnovsky Bemoans Poor Play

November 27, 2000|JIM HODGES

BOSTON — Lubomir Visnovsky stood alone with his thoughts in the hallway beneath FleetCenter on Sunday night.

He was downcast when Ziggy Palffy came alongside to console his rookie teammate.

"It's the first time I've made a mistake like that," said Visnovsky, a Slovakian, through Palffy's interpretation.

The mistake was a turnover on the King blue line that Andrei Kovalenko picked off and skated in alone to score.

The goal gave Boston a 2-1 first-period lead in a game that ended in a 4-4 tie.

"These things are going to happen," said Palffy, putting his own interpretation on the situation. "He has to learn to forget it."

The mistake was a product of Visnovsky's game, which is puck-handling and taking advantage of opportunities. And sometimes finding that there are no opportunities.

"Guys like him see the game in a different way than most other players see it," Coach Andy Murray said. "They take chances that other players can't.

"But they are also guys that, when they make a mistake, it usually isn't a marginal one. It's usually a big one."

There haven't been many, and Visnovsky atoned for it later in the period when he set up Palffy's second goal by passing to him while taking defenseman Paul Coffey out of the play.

"It's what we have to look at," Murray said. "What do we get from that creativity he's got versus sometimes those things happen."

*

Murray is protecting youngsters Steve Reinprecht and Jason Blake--and, perhaps, the Kings--in the closing moments of close games by cutting the Kings to three lines and skating Luc Robitaille with Ian Laperriere and Craig Johnson.

"It was getting to be a bit of a grinding game, and you want young people out there in situations where they can be successful," said Murray, who shortened the bench in the last nine minutes Sunday night.

"We had a couple of checkers [Laperriere and Johnson] who were a little bit fresher."

Laperriere and Johnson play on the fourth line, which often doesn't get as much ice time.

Either way is fine with Robitaille.

"It just means I get more ice time in the third period," he said.

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