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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:19 am 
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The St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings faceoff in a pivotal game at Staples Center Monday. The two teams are in the midst of a battle for the second and final wild-card spot in the Western Conference with St. Louis holding a three-point lead with 15 games remaining for both teams.

Both teams enter the contest with modest winning streaks, the Blues (35-27-5) won their fourth straight game on Saturday against the New York Islanders, 4-3, while the Kings captured their second straight with a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals. The teams have split two games this season with St. Louis winning 1-0 on Oct. 29 and the Kings returning the favor in a 5-1 home triumph on Jan. 12.

"The win against the Islanders is good for our confidence," said winger Vladimir Tarasenko. "If you look at the standings, the upcoming games in California are very important."

Tarasenko, the Blues' leading scorer with 31 goals, is heating up for the stretch drive, his two-goal performance against New York gives him four goals in his last three games after a five-game goalless streak. With a critical swing game to be played, Blues coach Mike Yeo hopes to have a full roster ready. Center Paul Stastny and defenseman Colton Parayko missed Saturday's game but Yeo is optimistic they will play.

"It's a great challenge for us, it's a very important part of our season. The Kings are putting a lot of emphasis on the game and if we want to win, he better too," Yeo said. "These type of games are fun and there's a chance that Stastny and Parayko play."

Sitting in ninth place in the West, Los Angeles (33-28-6) is already in playoff mode and every win is critical if they hope to vault over St. Louis and into a playoff position. The Washington victory was highlighted by the first NHL career goal by Adrian Kempe, a 20-year-old Swedish winger and their 2015 first-round draft pick. With the Kings offense floundering all season, coach Darryl Sutter hopes his youth and speed will invigorate a slumbering offense.

"Part of it is our style of play that's Kings' hockey," said defenseman Alec Martinez. "We just have to stick with it for 60 minutes. It's no secret that we find ourselves in this position a lot, tied games, one-goal games, our guys are used to being in a position like that. We had a big goal there by Adrian and that was huge for us."

Sutter tried to deemphasize the importance of the game but to fall further back in the points race with less than a month remaining in the season is not the easiest path to the postseason. With a healthy Jonathan Quick in goal, the Kings need to have a solid stretch of games against one of the most difficult remaining schedules, 10 of their last 15 games are against current playoff qualifiers the most of any Western Conference contender and six more than the Blues.

"All the teams that are close to you stand out," Sutter told reporters Sunday. "I don't think we can get too far ahead or too far back or any of that stuff. We usually have good games with them. We've played St. Louis lots over the years. We're trying to be a good middle-of-the-pack team, which is what our realistic expectations were coming into the year."
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Blues • The Blues are on a four-game winning streak after Saturday’s 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders. It’s the team’s second winning streak of four-plus games in 17 contests under Mike Yeo. ... The club will open a five-game road trip with a pivotal game against Los Angeles. They are currently holding the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference and have a three-point lead on LA, so a Kings win will not alter the standings. ... Vladimir Tarasenko has four goals in his last three games, boosting his season total to 32. ... Nine of the Blues’ last 10 goals have been scored at even strength.

Kings • LA is in the midst of a lengthy homestand, meeting the Blues in the fifth game of a seven-game stay at Staples Center ... The Kings are coming off a 4-2 win over Washington, which is the top team in the NHL standings with 95 points. The victory gave the Kings at least one point in six of their last seven games (4-1-2) ... LA scored two power-play goals in the win over Washington and now has eight in its last five games. ... Since returning from a groin injury that sidelined him four-plus months, Kings goalie Jonathan Quick is 4-0-1 with a .934 save percentage in the four victories.

Injuries • Blues — D Colton Parayko (undisclosed injury), C Paul Stastny (illness) and C Jori Lehtera (upper body), questionable; LW Robby Fabbri (knee), out. Kings — D Matt Greene (back), out.
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Tonight marks the beginning of a critical three-game stretch for the Blues as they trek through California for games with Los Angeles, Anaheim, and San Jose. With the Kings trailing the Blues by three points for the final Wild Card spot, tonight's matchup could be pivotal in the playoff picture. St. Louis is 1-1-0 vs. the Kings this season, beating them 1-0 back on Oct. 29 and dropping a 5-1 decision on Jan. 12. Overall, the Blues have won three of their last four against the Kings, but have lost seven of their last eight trips to Staples Center. However, looking back at the schedule, the Blues' last loss to the Kings seemed to be a wake-up call to the team. After losing at Staples on Jan. 12, the Blues went on to win three of their next four road games. Further, the Blues have won 10 of 15 on the road overall since Jan. 14, while posting the NHL's lowest road goals-against average (1.67) and highest road save percentage (.945) in the process.

What to Watch

David Perron could prove to be a big player in tonight's game. Perron was a nuisance to the Kings last season as he logged four goals and two assists in four games as a member of the Anaheim Ducks. The Blues may also get centers Paul Stastny and Jori Lehtera, as well as defenseman Colton Parayko back in the lineup. Should Stastny appear, it will be his 200th game as a Blue.

Milestones

David Perron - 3 shy of 100 goals as a Blue / 6 shy of 500 career PIM
Paul Stastny - 1 shy of 200 games as a Blue / 10 shy of 100 assists as a Blue / 8 shy of 600 career points
Kyle Brodziak - 4 shy of 400 career PIM
Carl Gunnarsson - 8 shy of 100 career assists
Jori Lehtera - 3 shy of 100 career points
Alexander Steen - 3 shy of 300 points as a Blue / 6 shy of 400 career PIM / 10 shy of 300 PIM as a Blue
Jay Bouwmeester - 6 shy of 100 PIM as a Blue
Robert Bortuzzo - 6 shy of 200 career games
Magnus Paajarvi - 7 shy of 300 career games

Quick Hits

The Blues are riding a four-game win streak - the fourth longest active streak in the League
St. Louis is averaging 3.25 goals-per-game during their win streak. They are 28-9-0 when scoring three or more in a game this season
Jake Allen is 2-2-0 with a 2.08 GAA and a .929 SV% (1 SO) in his career vs. the Kings
The Blues have allowed just one even strength goal over their last three road games


This day in history:
1984 Gretzky reaches 900 points in 385 games (fewest ever) with goal and assist in 6-2 win over Nordiques
1999 Phil Housley passes Joe Mullen to become the highest-scoring (1066 points) U.S.-born player in NHL history with three assists in Flames 5-4 overtime win over Capitals.
1988 Brett Hull scores first 2 St Louis Blues goals while Federko registers 10th career hat trick in 7-6 loss to Kings
1999 Grant Fuhr became 3rd goalie to win 100 games for Blues in 6-4 win over Oilers
2001 Blues acquire Keith Tkachuk from Pheonix for Michal Handzus, Ladislav Nagy, Jeff Taffe and a #1 draft pick. Cory Stillman was acquired from Calgary for Craig Conroy
2003 Hurricanes Ron Francis joins Gordie Howe as only players in NHL history to have 50 points in 22 consecutive seasons with 2 assists in 5-3 loss to Flyers

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Last edited by theohall on Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:36 am 
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Some discrepancies in the two game previews. The first one states Tank has 31 goals (he really has 32), and also states LA had a 3-2 victory over the Caps (they actually won 4-2).

Consecutive wins over the Wild, Ducks and Islanders are nice, but this game is probably the most important one of the bunch. Yuge, even.

Better not eff it up.

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Last edited by gaijin on Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:19 am 
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Didn't even read them... just cut and pasted... Considering ESPN is the source for that first one, not surprised they got things wrong again!!! Ever since Disney took over, they've gotten worse and worse and worse.

Anyway..

:goblues:

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:01 pm 
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Schwartz-Stastny-Tarasenko
Steen-Berglund-Perron
Jaskin-Barbashev-Paajarvi
Upshall-Brodziak-Reaves

Bouwmeester-Pietrangelo
Edmundson-Parayko
Gunnarsson-Bortuzzo


I'm guessing Allen will be in net tonight and Wednesday with Hutton on Thursday.

Lehtera did not participate in the morning skate. Schmaltz, Sanford and Yakupov were all there.

Quote:
Gaborik-Kopitar-Iginla
Pearson-Carter-Toffoli
Brown-Kempe-Lewis
Clifford-Dowd-Andreoff

Forbort-Doughty
Muzzin-LaDue
McNabb-Martinez


Quick expected to start.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:22 pm 
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Hmmm.....

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:36 pm 
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Sweatin' bullets over this tilt and looking forward to it all the same. At the very least, give those bastards hell.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:41 pm 
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Sounds like the Blues went to church for a hockey game.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:54 pm 
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Toasted Oates wrote:
Sweatin' bullets over this tilt and looking forward to it all the same. At the very least, give those bastards hell.


Meh.

I'll be perfectly fine with being in the minority for this one but I just don't expect the boys to do much this postseason. Maybe win one round depending how it shakes out.

I'm expecting next year for us to make some noise again :okman:

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:20 pm 
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WaukeeBlues wrote:
Toasted Oates wrote:
Sweatin' bullets over this tilt and looking forward to it all the same. At the very least, give those bastards hell.


Meh.

I'll be perfectly fine with being in the minority for this one but I just don't expect the boys to do much this postseason. Maybe win one round depending how it shakes out.

I'm expecting next year for us to make some noise again :okman:

Simply living in the moment. Nothing more. One can enjoy the game without looking ahead, no?

I don't know of anyone that believes this team will win 2 rounds, much less the Stanley Cup. That's a concern for another day, though.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:38 pm 
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Super play by Perron to knock in his own rebound!!! Blues lead 1-0!!!

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:51 pm 
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With the way Paajarvi seems to play better with Perron and Berglund, would be interested to see what Steen and Barbashev could do as a pairing.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:29 pm 
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Great kill! And Allen playing great!!!

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:48 pm 
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Got to stay up for this one because I'm off work tomorrow. Allen stole this game.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:52 pm 
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Steen with the empty netter!!! Blues lock it up!!! Super high-pressure road win!!!

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:19 pm 
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I was hoping for 1-2 points in the first 3 games of the road trip and then win the last 2 against Colorado and Arizona for 5-6 points. Not that I don't care about the next 2 games, but part A of that is now complete, and I will consider 6 of 10 points on this trip successful.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:20 pm 
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JCShutout wrote:
Got to stay up for this one because I'm off work tomorrow. Allen stole this game.


No lie. Allen was the difference in this one.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:52 am 
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Outstanding game by Allen. I may be mistaken, but it seems like he's playing a little higher when facing shots off the RW than he was doing before Brodeur took over. His positioning and rebound control in this one was phenomenal. 1.80 GAA and .941 SV% since the coaching change (14 games)

Good to see the 2nd line providing the scoring both on the PP and at even strength.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:06 pm 
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theohall wrote:
Outstanding game by Allen. I may be mistaken, but it seems like he's playing a little higher when facing shots off the RW than he was doing before Brodeur took over. His positioning and rebound control in this one was phenomenal. 1.80 GAA and .941 SV% since the coaching change (14 games)

Good to see the 2nd line providing the scoring both on the PP and at even strength.



Things that have helped Jake Allen grow and improve:

1. Change in management. Yeo seems to be willing to do the things Hitch refused to do.
2. Brodeur and I will say Corsi. I think Corsi was more help than harm and the coaching change helped matters by giving some fresh air and room to breathe.
3. Benching Jori Lehtera. Seriously.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:56 pm 
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End of the day, the best thing the Blues ever did was bring on Marty Brodeur. Dude will be a difference maker in developing Blues goalies going forward. Just make sure he doesn't jump back to NJ any time soon.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:10 pm 
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I liked Elliott. I hope he does well in Calgary.

I like Allen. He's our #1 and I hope he does well his entire time with the Blues.

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