On Sunday against Detroit, the effort was good but the result was not. Monday night, Feb 11 in St Louis, the Los Angeles Kings would not be denied. Jeff Carter scored twice, and the Kings again put in a full 60 mins effort, but this tine they earned a much-needed 4-1 victory over the reeling St Louis Blues. It was the Blues' fifth straight loss after having started the season by winning 6 of 7.
First period: The excitement began with Wade Redden deciding to drop the gloves, and subsequently getting his butt kicked by Jordan Nolan just 2 mins into the game. From there the Kings maintained their fast start, and held a territorial advantage throughout the period. They also scored first. Slava Voynov fed the puck to Mike Richards who carried it through the neutral zone. Richards gave it back to Voynov along the right wing boards. Slava had good speed coming across the blueline, as Jeff Carter joined the play and raced down the slot while fending off a ferociously backchecking Andy McDonald. Blues' defenseman Alex Pietrangelo slid down to the ice in a last ditch effort to stop the pass across to Carter. Voynov expertly slid the puck under the legs of the outstretched defenseman and onto the waiting stick of Carter, who gently tipped a perfect backhand shot between the legs of goalie Brian Elliott at 8:31. That was the only goal of the period though each team would have a shot ring off the post later on. Kings led 1-0 at end of first period.
Shots on goal in first period: Kings 7, St Louis 5
Second period: It was all Kings again as the second session began. At 3:23, newly acquired defenseman Keaton Ellerby found Jeff Carter who got a step on defenseman Ian Cole, skated across the goal mouth, and again beat Elliott between the pads with a backhand shot. 8 mins later, with the Kings up 2-0, Carter had a glorious chance for the hat trick, but broke his stick while putting the shot toward the net. Davis Drewiske got his first goal of the season, on the power play, as he took the feed from Anze Kopitar, and waited for Kopi and Carter to set up a screen down low in front of Elliott. His slapshot made the score 3-0 at 13:22. The Kings had played brilliant hockey, and midway through the period, had only allowed 2 shots on goal. The Blues would ultimately apply some sustained pressure in the last several mins, and were rewarded with a power play goal from Alex Steen at 19:17. Kings led 3-1 at the end of two periods.
Shots on goal in second period: Kings 10, St Louis 7
Third period: Holding a 3-1 lead, the Kings were well aware of the importance of the next goal. The much-needed insurance goal would come courtesy of a good hustle play by Dustin Penner. "Pancakes" stripped the puck from a St Louis player, in the neutral zone. As he drove toward the net, Voynov jumped into the play to create a partial 2 on 1 break. The pass across to Slava was thwarted but he stayed with the play. The young blueliner cycled the puck deep in the Blues' zone, and then found Jarrett Stoll in front of the net. Stoll put the Kings up 4-1 at 3:36 to close out the scoring. The Blues never were able to put any significant sustained pressure on the Kings for the rest of the period.
Shots on goal in third period: Kings 6, St Louis 10
Final score: Kings 4, St Louis 1
Final shots on goal: Kings 23, St Louis 22
Power play: Kings 1-5, St Louis 1-5
3 Stars of the game:
1) Jeff Carter (Kings)
2) Slava Voynov (Kings)
3) Jonathan Bernier (Kings)
*Alec Martinez left the game early in first period and did not return due to an "upper body injury".
*Backup goalie Jonathan Bernier started in goal for the first time this season.
*Kings now have three days off - next game will be Friday night in Los Angeles vs Columbus Blue Jackets.
Kings line combinations:
There were no set two-man defensive pairings due to the injury to Alec Martinez which left the team with a five man defense rotation.
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