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Pro Hockey | KING REPORT

Palffy and Miller Return With a Bang

November 13, 2001|Jerry Crowe and \f7

Ziggy Palffy and Aaron Miller, who returned to the lineup after sitting out because of back injuries, earned high marks from Coach Andy Murray for their work in Saturday night's 3-2 overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings.

Palffy, who had sat out four games, made the more obvious contribution, scoring the winner and assisting on a third-period goal by Adam Deadmarsh.

"He certainly looked better than he did before he went out," Murray said. "He had more jump in his stride. But we can't be doing that--having him sitting out 21/2 weeks all the time to get a good game out of him....

"We're more dangerous offensively when he's in our lineup, no question."

They are tougher defensively with Miller, who had sat out eight games.

"I thought he was great," Murray said. "He played with some real bite."

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Miller, who combines with captain Mattias Norstrom to form the Kings' top defensive pair, mixed it up with Red Wing captain Steve Yzerman and also banged bodies with high-scoring winger Brett Hull a few times.

"It doesn't matter [who it is]," Murray said. "Some guys in the league show respect for these top-end skill players and all that ends up happening when you do that is, they hurt you. So, either you'd better be prepared to hurt them physically or they're going to hurt you by putting pucks behind you into the net."

*

The Kings knew what they were getting in Jason Allison--a rugged, high-scoring center--when they traded last month with the Boston Bruins. But Finnish winger Mikko Eloranta, who also came in the deal that sent center Jozef Stumpel and winger Glen Murray to the Bruins, was a mystery.

Eloranta has mostly been used on the third or fourth line but Monday in practice he skated on a line with Palffy and second-line center Bryan Smolinski.

"It's kind of to see what he can do," Murray said. "He's kind of an unknown to us."

*

Defenseman Mathieu Schneider, who sat out Saturday's game because of a groin injury, saw a specialist Monday but the Kings are hoping he can play Thursday night against the Dallas Stars at Staples Center.

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