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Kings defeat Rangers on the big stage, 4-2

February 06, 2008|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Kings Coach Marc Crawford sees lots of potential in Alexander Frolov and Anze Kopitar.

The young forwards each had a goal and an assist Tuesday night to lead the Kings to a 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers.

"These guys are very good," Crawford said. "Their puck-protection skills are at a level of elite players. They protect the puck as well as Jaromir [Jagr] does. They may not have the offensive creativity yet as Jaromir, but they are still young, still developing. They've got tons of talent."

Frolov, 25, and Kopitar, 20, have been key components of the Kings' recent surge.

The NHL's worst team coming in, the Kings improved to 7-3-1 in their last 11 games.

"Even when we were on an eight-game losing streak [Dec. 12-26], we were playing really good, but we lost a bunch of one-goal games," Kopitar said. "Our record is not great, but the team is showing character and playing really hard now."

As usual, the Kings played well against the Rangers. They are unbeaten in the last five meetings with New York (4-0-1).

Scott Thornton and Brian Boyle also scored for the Kings and Jason LaBarbera made 23 of his 39 saves in the second period. Chris Drury and Sean Avery scored for New York, which had won three in a row and five of the last six.

The Kings went up, 2-0, on first-period scores by Thornton and Boyle, a lead they never relinquished.

"We were playing a team that was just getting better and had nothing to lose," Rangers Coach Tom Renney said. "For a lot of them, it's their first game at Madison Square Garden. We needed a start to possibly put them on their heels."

Instead, it was the Rangers who struggled to catch up. "I thought we should have jumped on them to get a lead, but it was the other way around," Jagr said. "I don't think we had the energy. It's not like we didn't want to do it."

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