On Thursday night, the St. Louis Blues prepared for a battle against the Los Angeles Kings, a team which they have played very well against this season.
The last time these two teams faced, the Blues won in amazing shutout fashion, beating L.A 5-0.
Unfortunately, this time around, the game didn’t go as the Blues had planned.
Costly penalties, lack of offense, and struggling goal-tending hurt the Blues as they fell 4-1 to the Kings. The win snapped a five-game road losing streak for the Kings, who improved to 29-14-5. The Blues dropped to 32-9-5, still trailing Chicago by two points in the division.
Jake Muzzin fired a screen shot past goalie Jaroslav Halak, who seemed off his game often during the night, early in the 1st period to give the Kings a 1-0 lead. The Blues top-ranked offense could not get any momentum going, and would trail L.A 1-0 going into the second.
The lone goal scored by the Blues came at the 5:55 mark in the 2nd when T.J Oshie scored on a penalty shot that went through the legs of Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick. It was the only goal the Blues would score all night.
In the third period, the Kings continued to cut off the Blues’ offensive attempts to regain the lead, while providing their own spark of offense, which hasn’t been seen as of late from them. Only two minutes in, Trevor Lewis launched a shot in the goal, mere moments after a Blues’ penalty kill, and pushed L.A to a 2-1 lead. They never lost the lead for the remainder of the night. With 16 minutes left in the third, Lewis once again was able to get a shorthanded goal to increase the lead to 3-1 for the Kings.
As the Blues offense continued to struggle, and being down by two with time winding down, they made the decision to pull Halak in an effort to have an increased scoring chance. But it turned out the only team with an increased scoring chance…was L.A. Jeff Carter fired a shot into the empty net and gave the Kings a 4-1 lead, and eventually, the win.
Overall, it was a very poor performance by the St. Louis Blues. A mishap of handling the puck by Halak in the third would lead to Lewis’ second goal of the night. This is only the second time in 10 games the Blues have lost, and their record at home dropped to 18-4-2. Power plays were a huge letdown for both sides, as both teams went a combined 0-9 on power play opportunities (Blues went 0-4).
Penalties were also a major part of the game. The Kings had eight penalties and a total of 19 penalty minutes, while the Blues had 11 penalties and a total of 33 penalty minutes. Fights broke out at the end of both the second and third periods, as tempers flared and tensions heated up.
Quick played exceptionally well, allowing only one goal on 29 shots, while Halak allowed three goals on 30 shots. Lewis’s two goals in the third period were only 2:17 apart.
Brian Elliott has been announced as the starting goalie for the Blues’ next match-up.
It isn’t often this year’s Blues lose, let alone lose at home. Look for them to rebound against the NHL’s top-ranked Anaheim Ducks, St. Louis will have to play a lot better if they want to make a statement against the team argued to be the “best in hockey”. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)