St. Louis Blues beat Los Angeles Kings for fifth straight win

By Dennis Bernstein, The Sports Xchange  |  March 14, 2017 at 6:40 AM
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LOS ANGELES -- The St. Louis Blues found a way to get out of Los Angeles with two points in a pivotal contest with a strong performance from a revitalized player while the Los Angeles Kings lost a critical contest in the same manner they have all season.

Magnus Paajarvi scored the decisive power-play goal and Jake Allen stopped 38 shots as the Blues defeated the Kings 3-1 Monday.

The Blues (36-27-5) won their fifth straight game and extended their lead over the Kings to five points for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Los Angeles (33-29-6) had a two-game winning streak snapped. Dustin Brown registered the Kings' lone goal and Jonathan Quick made 23 saves.

Jake Allen, who was left behind on a road trip earlier this season due to poor play, continued his strong goaltending during this streak. He shut out Colorado on March 5 and shut down Los Angeles Monday despite facing a barrage of shots, including 21 in the second period.

"Every game is huge, but I think both teams understood the significance of this game tonight and I think it showed in the desperation from both teams," said Blues coach Mike Yeo. "Obviously, Jake was outstanding tonight. From top to bottom, we had a really strong team effort."

"Jake was fantastic," Blues left wing David Perron said. "We lost some players like Kevin Shattenkirk and Robby Fabri and we all have had to dig deep here."

For Los Angeles, the loss put it in a deeper hole in its quest to return to the postseason. The Kings' lack of scoring has dogged them throughout the season despite having the same core group that led them to two Stanley Cup titles. The Kings have the 24th-ranked offense in the league and despite adding rookies Adrian Kempe and Paul LaDue to the offense late in the season they continue to sputter.

"We have a lot of players in the lineup who have scored zero goals this season," coach Darryl Sutter said. "I don't scratch my head over it."

With time running short and a difficult schedule ahead, the Kings had targeted this game as close to a 'must-win' as possible. The disappointment was evident in their post-game locker room.

"This one stung," said Drew Doughty "We were pretty excited for the game before, knowing what is at stake. Before the game, I felt good about us getting the two points and we had some chances, and if we capitalize on those chances the game is a lot different. It's a frustrating loss, and we got to get over it quick because we play again tomorrow and have to win that game."

Alexander Steen added an empty-net goal at 19:53 of the third period to close out the scoring, with an assist from Alex Pietrangelo.

With Quick pulled for an extra skater, Brown converted a rebound for his 11th goal of the season to narrow the margin to 2-1 at 17:05 of the third period. Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar had assists on that goal.

St. Louis had taken a 2-0 lead on Paajarvi's fifth goal of the season at 1:10 of the third period. With Los Angeles' Jeff Carter in the box for holding, Paajarvi got credit for the score after Patrik Berglund's rebound try of his own initial shot deflected off Paajarvi and past Quick.

The Blues took a 1-0 lead on Perron's 14th goal of the season at 13:47 of the second period. Perron took an errant pass by Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin and worked a give and go with Steen. Quick stopped Perron's initial attempt but the puck remained loose in the crease for the winger to shovel into the net.

NOTES:

-- St. Louis scratched C Jori Lehtera, D Jordan Schmaltz, RW Nail Yakupov and LW Zach Sanford.

-- C Paul Stastny and D Colton Parayko returned to the Blues lineup after missing the 4-3 victory over the Islanders on Saturday. Stastny appeared in his 200th game as a Blue.

-- The Blues continue a five-game road trip on Wednesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

-- Los Angeles did not dress C Nick Shore, D Kevin Gravel and C Jordan Nolan.

-- Los Angeles RW Tyler Toffoli continues to struggle after returning from a lower body injury. He has failed to score a goal in seven straight games and has scored only four goals in 17 games since returning to the lineup on Feb. 4.

-- The Kings face the Arizona Coyotes Tuesday, the sixth contest of a seven-game home stand. Los Angeles has played six sets of back-to-back games this season and have a 3-2-1 record in the second game of the pairs.

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