NHL on NBCSN: Kings and Blues renew hostilities in St. Louis
NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the St. Louis Blues host the Los Angeles Kings at Scottrade Center at 8:00 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.
Anytime the St. Louis Blues face the Los Angeles Kings it’s anything but nice.
By now we’re familiar with their meetings the past two seasons in the playoffs with the Kings knocking out the Blues in four games in 2012 and six games in 2013. This season has done nothing to quiet things down.
Each team has beaten the other this season with the Kings taking a 3-2 win at home on Dec. 2 and the Blues getting a blowout 5-0 win in St. Louis on Jan. 5. The game tonight in St. Louis is their final meeting of the regular season and should help set the table in case they meet again in the postseason.
The Blues enter the game on a tear having won 10 of their last 12 games. Goaltending has been a big part of that success lately with Brian Elliott doing most of the work instead of Jaroslav Halak. Elliott’s play has helped us remember how strong he was for the Blues two seasons ago.
More impressively, it’s been the offense that’s stood out for the Blues. During that 12 game stretch, St. Louis is averaging exactly four goals per game. T.J. Oshie, Jaden Schwartz, David Backes, Alex Pietrangelo, and Kevin Shattenkirk have had big seasons already and guys like Patrik Berglund, Vladimir Sobotka, and Vladimir Tarasenko are bringing plentiful scoring depth that brings a smile to coach Ken Hitchcock’s face.
The Blues’ issues against L.A. in the past were always centered around scoring goals. If this kind of output persists, they’ll be terrifying to deal with in the playoffs.
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Things in Los Angeles aren’t as pleasant lately. The Kings have dropped seven of their last 10 games and about the only good news there has been the return of Jonathan Quick in goal.
Since coming back on Jan. 4, Quick is 3-1-1 and has allowed seven goals in five games. He shutout Vancouver on Monday night making 28 saves. While the solid goaltending is all well and good, the offense has struggled.
Over their 10 game stretch, they’ve scored 16 goals. Scoring less than two goals per game is a recipe for frustration and that’s just what Darryl Sutter’s crew is dealing with now.
The offensive talent is there with Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, and Justin Williams they just have to find ways to produce more. That frustration likely isn’t anything new in L.A. but sending Tyler Toffoli (17 points in 33 games) back to the AHL didn’t do much to instill confidence in what they’re doing