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November 18, 2011 2:43 pm

Holding third-period leads an issue for Kings

The Kings took a lead into the third period last night and won, just as they have done seven times this season, but more often than not, it’s been a white-knuckle experience. Last night, the Kings took a 3-1 lead early in the third, then allowed two goals. The previous night, the Kings held a 1-0 lead but allowed a late game-tying goal. Going back, at Dallas on Oct. 27, the Kings led 3-1 in the third period before the Stars tied the game and the Kings rallied and won with two late goals. Even in the Nov. 8 game against Nashville, the Kings held a two-goal lead and the Predators made things very interesting with a late goal. Part of it is just the nature of the game. A team trailing in the third period will push more and take more chances, and the leading team — consciously or not — will back off a bit. Last night, it worked out for the Kings, as Anze Kopitar scored the game-winning goal with three minutes remaining, but Terry Murray doesn’t want to see his team make a habit of needing late heroics.

MURRAY: “A huge win. Just a tremendous goal there by Kopitar, to make the play, to hang in there for the loose puck, to battle. Scuderi, a great read by him, to be a big part of the breakout, to make the play to Kopi. I compliment everybody on that, but as I said to the team afterward, in the locker room, it’s important that we be better when we have a 3-1 lead like we did last night, and just execute a little harder, so that we’re not going to get ourselves into that situation. Mind me, I recognize the great players that (the Ducks) have on their team. They’ve got some of the better forwards in the game, and it’s going to happen, where they’re going to make plays. No matter what you do, they’re going to make plays. But I thought we got a little loose at times, in that situation, and I really wanted to bring attention to it through a talk with the team, which I did. Hopefully the next time, we execute a little differently.’’

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