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January 6, 2012 9:30 am

The view from Phoenix

How much can one goal improve a team’s fortunes? If the Kings had lost to Phoenix in regulation last night, this morning they would be in 10th place in the conference and just one point ahead of the Coyotes. Instead, with their overtime win, the Kings moved to seventh place and built a four-point cushion over Phoenix. Yes, there’s still half a season to play, but if the Kings can keep their nose ahead of division rivals such as Dallas and Phoenix, their playoff chances will increase dramatically, even if they can’t catch San Jose. The Coyotes, typical of a Dave Tippett-coached team, are scrappy overachievers and always give the Kings a tough game. There were no Phoenix-based reporters at last night’s game, but here are some postgame quotes from the Coyotes’ locker room…

(on the Kings’ overtime goal…) “It should be no goal. It’s not a matter of (the) fact that the puck went in the net. The puck did go in the net, but it should be goalie interference. If they don’t give the goal to (Jack) Johnson then it’s goalie interference. If he comes in and puts his leg in front of Mike Smith’s leg so (Smith) can’t make a stop, that is goalie interference. It’s as simple as that. It’s a poor call. It’s a blown call that should be no goal.’’

(on the game…) “We had lots of guys compete awfully hard. We knew that’s the kind of game we have to play. It’s an intense game. We have got to do a lot of little things right. With our lineup the way it is right now, we have to have everybody compete as hard as they can and we got to find ways to win. I think we got a bad break.’’

(on Mike Smith’s game…) “Excellent. That’s what we need. We need our goaltender to be a very good player for us every night. He played a heck of a game.’’


(on the game…) “Obviously we need to create some more opportunities and find some ways to get some in. (Smith) played unbelievable for us and we’ve just got to find ways to score.’’

(on the Kings’ overtime goal…) “The ref who made the calls was more watching the net come up off the moorings, and not paying attention to what’s in the crease. Honestly, with the way their guy drives to the crease and stops Smitty [Mike Smith] from going across the net, that’s a no-brainer, you assume, but apparently there’s more concern with watching the net than watching our goalie.’’

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