Not once during the regular season did the St. Louis Blues lose three straight games, but it happened Thursday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles, as the 8th seeded Kings grabbed a commanding lead in this series with a 4-2 win over Blues.
The Blues got two goals from Chris Stewart and top defenseman Alex Pietrangelo returned after missing game 2 with an injury, but the power play continued to struggle and Brian Elliott had a shaky night in goal.
With the injury the starter Jaroslav Halak, Elliott has been the main guy in the pipes, but he let in a couple of stoppable shots in the second period that broke a 1-1 tie.
The first came 40 seconds after Stewart tied the game at 1-1. The defense allowed Dwight King, (the player who injured Pietrangelo in game one with his check from behind), an open shot and his wrister beat Elliot. The Kings snapped an 0 for 30 power play slump when Mike Richards banked a shot off Elliot’s pads from a sharp angle to make it a 3-1 game.
Stewart’s second goal came 4:35 into the third when he outworked the L.A. defense in front of Jonathan Quick and slid a loose puck past the Kings goalie, pulling the Blues to within a goal. Quick made 18 saves.
The Kings pushed it back to a two goal advantage when defenseman Drew Doughty beat Elliott with a slap shot between his legs. Elliott said, “I’m not really going to talk about what’s frustrating or what’s not. Sometimes those hit you and stay out. Sometimes they go through you. Right now it’s just … that one snuck through.”
The Blues were 0 for 3 on the power play and are now 0 for 14 for the series. Meanwhile, the Blues had to kill off three penalties in the first period and got just four shots on goal. In game two, the Blues didn’t get a shot on goal for nearly the first ten minutes and gave up four goals in the first period. The Blues must get out of the gates better if they stand a chance at winning a game.
“Veteran players taking reactionary penalties … We can’t beat this team when we’re sitting in the penalty box,” said coach Ken Hitchcock. Game four is Sunday in Los Angeles.