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Kings play Wild tonight with regular-season finish line in sight

April 23, 2013|By Lisa Dillman
  • Matt Greene, right, shown mixing it up with Dallas' Reilly Smith on Sunday at Staples Center, will play against the Wild on Tuesday in his third game since returning from back surgery.
Matt Greene, right, shown mixing it up with Dallas' Reilly Smith on… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Greetings from hockey country, and just to make the Kings feel more comfortable, the area was nicely blanketed with about four to five inches of snow overnight.

Bring on May.

And the playoffs, of course. The Kings have three games remaining, including Tuesday night’s contest against the Minnesota Wild, and the sight of the regular-season finish line has its benefits.

“It’s been a grind,” Kings captain Dustin Brown said after Tuesday’s morning skate. “The month of March was really difficult but always around this time you start to get reinvigorated about playing again. Not to discredit what we just did and the grind it was … but playoffs are fun.”

Right now, it is helpful that the Kings are playing teams in playoff contention.

“I think it’s a better scenario for us to get better as a team,” Brown said. “Everyone has been in that situation where you’re playing a team that’s out of the playoffs.

“As much as you say you’ve got to focus in and get these two points, you look at the game differently when a team is out because you know they have nothing to play for.”

Not surprisingly, Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier is expected to get the start. Bernier recorded his sixth career shutout, beating Minnesota, 3-0, on April 4. He has had one start since then.

Defenseman Matt Greene will be appearing in his third game since returning from back surgery and he was not sure if he would play Wednesday at Detroit, saying it had not yet been discussed.

“Just trying to get my game going and not really worrying about my back at all, worrying about making plays and doing the job,” Greene said. 

“I’ve just got to get going. I haven’t played all year .... I want to be better. The last game I made some mistakes too. You want to rectify those before we get in the playoffs.”

Brown talked about the attributes of Greene and another veteran Kings defenseman, Rob Scuderi.

“He’s big and physical a lot like Scuds -- obviously more physical than Scuds,” Brown said. “One of those defensemen, if you don’t notice him, he’s probably doing a really good job.

“I think he’s done a good job after the injury he had, and trying to come back from that. He’s probably been our most physical defenseman in the few games he’s played, which is a positive sign for us.”

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