January 23, 2012 2:45 pm

Sutter’s short-term goal achieved

The Kings have already achieved Darryl Sutter’s first, short-term goal. When Sutter took charge of the Kings on Dec. 21, he told them he wanted them to be in a playoff position by the All-Star break. Well, they will be. When Sutter said that, the Kings were three points out of a playoff spot. Regardless of what happens around the league over the next couple days, the Kings will, at worst, be in eighth place in the Western Conference at the All-Star break. Right now, the Kings are in seventh place, three points clear of ninth-place Minnesota. If the Kings get two points tonight, they would have a chance to go into the break with as much as a five-point cushion over the ninth-place team. If the Kings get zero points tonight, their cushion over the ninth-place team might be as small as one point. Technically, the Kings have a chance to be leading the division. Right now, the Kings trail San Jose by one point, but the Sharks have four games in hand. San Jose plays at Edmonton tonight and at Calgary tomorrow.

SUTTER: “Our goal, like I told the guys when I came here around Christmas, our goal was to be in a playoff spot at the All-Star break. That was a tangible, realistic one that didn’t stretch it out. And if we could keep pressure on San Jose, good. So that’s what we’re doing. So we’ll try to do that again tonight, keep the pressure on them, then use tomorrow as a really good work day and get some couple days of down time for the guys and reload. We’ve got guys banged up, and the best thing about this break is, it’s going to give not just our team, but probably everybody, a chance to re-energize, so that everybody is playing their best hockey.’’

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