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Palffy, Schneider Return to Lineup

January 02, 2002|Jerry Crowe and \f7

Ziggy Palffy and Mathieu Schneider will return to the Kings' lineup tonight against the Florida Panthers at Staples Center, Coach Andy Murray said Tuesday, putting the Kings back at full strength for the first time since early November.

Palffy, the Kings' leading scorer last season, has not played since suffering a broken rib below his collarbone while crashing awkwardly into the boards in a Dec. 1 game against the Nashville Predators.

Schneider, sidelined since Nov. 8, was the Kings' leading scorer during the playoffs last spring and was tied for the team scoring lead this season before undergoing surgery Nov. 15 to repair a hernia and torn abdominal muscle.

Even without Palffy and Schneider, the Kings were 7-4-4 in December, doubling their victory total from October and November.

"We battled pretty hard," Murray said. "I'd like to think we're going to battle just as hard when they come back into the lineup.

"They're two of our better players, and if you add two of your better players to your lineup, it should increase your odds of winning.

"But that's if everything else stays the same in terms of work ethic and commitment to team defense. You can't give up anything else just because you're adding them. You're not any further ahead."

Felix Potvin, pulled in favor of Jamie Storr in the second period of Saturday's 5-4 loss to the New York Rangers, will be back in goal tonight.

"It was decided right after the game," Murray said. "It's going to be Felix. He's our guy and he's got to get back in there. He's been tremendous [over the last month]. He didn't have a good night, but he's our guy."

Still, Murray said of Storr, "His stock just continues to rise."


vs. Florida, 7:30

Fox Sports Net

Site--Staples Center.

Radio--KSPN (1110).

Records--Kings 14-16-7-2, Panthers 12-20-3-3.

Record vs. Panthers--0-1.

Update--The Panthers, who scored three goals in the first 51/2 minutes of a 3-2 victory over the Kings on Oct. 26 at Sunrise, Fla., are 6-5-1 under Coach Mike Keenan, who replaced Duane Sutter on Dec. 3.

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