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Hitchcock confident of a Blues rebound

With the Islanders’ Josh Bailey (12) looking on, Daniel Paille falls in a heap after taking a puck to the face. With the Islanders’ Josh Bailey (12) looking on, Daniel Paille falls in a heap after taking a puck to the face. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)
Associated Press / November 8, 2011

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It all happened so quickly. The St. Louis Blues changed coaches after only 13 games. Now Ken Hitchcock is in charge, an experienced hand who says he knows how to get the most out of these players.

Yesterday, hours after his introductory news conference as the successor to Davis Payne, Hitchcock was on the bench for his first practice with a team that’s off to a stumbling start. His first game with the Blues is tonight, at home against Chicago.

Hitchcock plans no major changes, inheriting a staff and style of play, but will expect more consistency. He believes the Blues have the talent to be a playoff team.

“I want us to be proud of the way we play the game,’’ Hitchcock said. “I think at the end of the day, I want people in St. Louis to say, ‘Man, that team plays the right way.’ ’’

The Blues dismissed Payne after a 6-7 start left them in 14th place in the Western Conference in favor of a man with more than 1,000 games of coaching experience.

Sharks 4, Kings 2 - Patrick Marleau scored once and assisted on two other second-period goals and host San Jose won for the seventh time in nine games.

Joe Thornton started the second-period outburst with his fourth goal and Dan Boyle capped it with his first.

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