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Kings face key game against Sharks before heading into All-Star break

Both teams have seemingly recovered from recent slumps and are only two points apart in the standings. 'You're going to get fired up for that kind of a game without any help from anybody else,' Coach Terry Murray says.

January 25, 2011|By Kevin Baxter
  • Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi, front, battles San Jose center Logan Couture for a loose puck in front of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick during a game on Jan. 1. The Kings will be looking to earn another win Wednesday before heading into the All-Star break.
Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi, front, battles San Jose center Logan Couture… (Gus Ruelas / Associated…)

Kings Coach Terry Murray expects something akin to a playoff atmosphere at Staples Center on Wednesday when the San Jose Sharks skate in for the final game before the All-Star break.

The teams are separated by only two points in the Western Conference standings. And each has regrouped after recent dry spells, with the Kings winning consecutive games for the first time in a month while San Jose has won four in a row.

"You're going to get fired up for that kind of a game without any help from anybody else," Murray said. "You come to the rink, you're excited, your adrenaline's flowing a little bit faster. You just want to get out on the ice and compete.

"They're trying to put it all together and get themselves going. And we are the same."

Despite that, some of the talk in the Kings' dressing room after Tuesday's morning skate was about plans for the team's five-day break. But Murray promised that wouldn't be a distraction.

"They've been looking ahead. They're going to get out of town, some guys," he said. "You just cannot let it be distracting for you."

And as if to prove that point, goalie Jonathan Quick, who posted his fifth shutout of the season in Monday's win over Boston, refused to even discuss his vacation plans.

"I'm looking forward to [Wednesday night]," he said "I'm not looking past that. So all I'm focused on right now is getting two points. And we'll go from there."

Golden voices

Kings TV analyst Jim Fox and play-by-play broadcaster Bob Miller were honored by the Southern California Sports Broadcasters on Tuesday. Fox was named the market's top TV commentator for the second time and Miller won his seventh play-by-play prize.

Change in plans

The Feb. 13 game in Philadelphia has been moved up four hours, to a noon PST start, after the game was taken off NBC. It was the team's only scheduled appearance on the network this season.

The change in times could pose an inconvenience for the Kings, who play an afternoon game the day before in Washington, leaving them with two games in two cities in less than 27 hours.

The games also come in the middle of a 10-game, 23-day trip the Kings were required to make to clear Staples Center, which is the site for the Grammy Awards on Feb. 13 and the NBA All-Star game Feb. 20.

"That's all right," said Murray, whose team plans to take a train between Washington and Philadelphia. "You still get your regular break in there. It's the same as 7:30, 7:30 [starts]. So there's no difference in that."

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