The great eight

Not so long ago, the Kings were first in the Western Conference. They awoke this morning in sixth place, only three points ahead of ninth-place Detroit and four points ahead of 11th-place Minnesota. If Nashville gets a point tonight, the Kings will be in seventh. That shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Anyone who objectively, realistically looked at the West at the start of the season would know that merely hanging on to eighth place would be an accomplishment.

Today, I asked Terry Murray if it was important, from a mental standpoint, to remain in the top eight all season, or whether it only mattered where the team was after the final day of the regular season…

MURRAY: “I think it’s important that you stay in the mix through the whole time. Obviously there are no guarantees. We just need to build on our game from last night. I watched that thing again today, and there were a lot of pretty good things that we can build off of. Maybe, on the checking part of the game, there were a few breakdowns. Again, there’s Frolov’s broken stick, there’s the power play where the puck is rimmed and we end up turning it over. The third goal is another dump in from the red line, on a rim, and that should have been a play that’s stopped, and our D go back and recover.

“When you get into the second part, from now until the Olympic break, every detail matters. Every little play, every pass. After the break, it will tighten up even more. That’s the message that we try to send every day. Passing the puck, receiving the pass, doing the little things, two feet here, three feet there, that’s the difference in making the right play and being out of position.”

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