February 1, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak (41) warms up before the game against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Kings At St. Louis Blues – Game Day Preview February 11, 2013

ST. LOUIS BLUES

vs. LOS ANGELES KINGS

February 11th, 2013
Scottrade Center
St. Louis, Missouri
7:00 p.m. CST
TV: FOX Sports Midwest
Season Series is 0-0

The St. Louis Blues will have their first chance at revenge against the Los Angeles Kings tonight in St. Louis.  The first of three meetings these teams will have this season brings the defending Stanley Cup Champions back to Scottrade fresh off a two game losing streak.  On Sunday the Los Angeles Kings outplayed the Detroit Red Wings, but lost the game in the third period.  It appears that the run to the cup has had its effect on the Kings longer than on most teams.  Off to a rough start, LA is at the bottom of their division after a 3-5-2 start to the season.  The St. Louis Blues are fighting their way back after a now four game losing streak.  Jaroslav Halak has been reactivated and should be in net for the Blues, which is sure to bring a new level of confidence for the Blues who have been struggling with Brian Elliott in net.

Feb 9, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Nick Bonino (13) scores the game-winning shootout goal on St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (1) at the Scottrade Center. The Ducks won 6-5 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

ST. LOUIS BLUES

(6-4-1, 4th in Central)

The St. Louis Blues looked like a different team on Saturday night when they played host to the Anaheim Ducks.  Although the Blues forechecking efforts in the game led to 5 goals, a two-minute relapse in play led to a three goal rush by the red hot Ducks.  With Jaroslav Halak back in net the Blues will be looking for a new kind of confidence on their back end.  Look for the offense to pick up where it left off against the Ducks as they seemed to have recaptured the form they had at the beginning of the season.

Key players

 

Jaroslav Halak is back in net, which means big things for the St. Louis Blues.  What a difference a week can make.  When Halak was taken out of a Friday night game against the Detroit Red Wings on February 1st the Blues were second in the Central Division only to the Chicago Blackhawks and had only lost one game.  Now, just 10 days later the Blues have lost 4 games and have looked like they can’t stop the bleeding as they continue to give up odd man rushes and Brian Elliott‘s confidence continues to decrease.  Halak may not have the best stats coming back to the ice, but he can be the difference maker that the Blues need.  Just one confident stop on an odd man rush would give the Blues a new confidence that they need badly.

Others to watch

 

Feb 9, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (27) controls the puck as Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf (15) pressures during the first period at the Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Pietrangelo has been a point-per-game player this season and he is sure to be hot on the ice again tonight.  While his defensive play is still not at the head of the pack it looked slightly better on Saturday and Petro managed to continue to add points to his running total.  As a front runner for a Norris Trophy, Petro is sure to keep pressure up on the opposition and jump into the plays when on the powerplay.

February 10, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk (13) is defended by Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty (8) and defenseman Alec Martinez (27) in the first period at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES KINGS

(3-5-2, 5th in Pacific)

The Los Angeles Kings were the most exciting team to watch in the playoffs last year as it seemed like no one could stop them on their run for the cup, but the long work stoppage seems to have killed any momentum that the team had.  A hangover from a cup win is common, but normally it has been a short summer.  After losing two straight games the Kings are coming back into a place that they had a lot of success last postseason.  The Kings are going to have a challenge in front of them though as the Blues are looking to end their own losing streak and want payback for last season.

Key players

 

February 10, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar (11) skates with the puck in the second period against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Anze Kopitar has been leading the Los Angeles Kings and looks just as good as he has ever been.  With as much skill as Koptiar has it is no  surprise that he has managed to net four goals and two assists in nine games all while the rest of the team is struggling to put the puck in the net.  Against a defense lacking confidence, Kopitar has the potential to expose any holes in the Blues game and will be looking to add a couple more to his running count.

Others to watch

 

Feb 7, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators left wing Rich Clune (16) fights with Los Angeles Kings left wing Kyle Clifford (13) during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Clifford comes into Monday night’s game tied for the team lead in points with Kopitar at 6 a piece.  Through the first 10 games Clifford has scored just one goal but added six helpers.  Clifford might not be the biggest threat on the ice, he is managing to find ways to get on the scoresheet.  Clifford will be hoping to get a few more assists knowing that the Blues have been allowing more goals than any other team in the league in their past 4 games.

Bottom line

The St. Louis Blues need to wake up if they wish to save their season.  From a great start to a rapid fall, the Blues are currently barely in the playoff race and in a shortened season a long losing streak can kill your entire year.  The LA Kings haven’t shown up at all this season and are looking for a jump start.  One of these teams will end their losing streak tonight, but which one will it be.  Will it be the Blues coming back from a 10 day nightmare or the Kings who look to start a climb up the standings?  Only time will tell, but both teams will look to their goaltenders to do what they have not been able to do of late, win games.

Let’s hope the St. Louis Blues can bring home a win tonight. LET’S GO BLUES!

-Alex Hodschayan

Tags: Anze Kopitar Jaroslav Halak Los Angeles Kings St. Louis Blues