ST. LOUIS BLUES vs. LOS ANGELES KINGS
May 6th, 2013
Los Angeles, California
9:00 p.m. CST
TV: FOX Sports Midwest
Blues lead Kings in series 2-1
ST. LOUIS BLUES
(2-1-0, in Series)
The St. Louis Blues enter game four tonight with a two-to-one series lead over the L.A. Kings and will look to take a strangle hold on the series with a victory tonight. They are coming off of a 1-0 loss against the Kings in game three in which they failed to put the puck in the back of the net for the first time in the series. The story of the series for the Blues is their inability to finish on their prime scoring chances. They continue to miss wide open nets, ring pucks off the posts, and all together fail to put the puck in the back of the net. Tonight, they need to focus on putting the puck on net more. There are far to many missed opportunities for St. Louis and the players need to start bearing down the Kings in the offensive zone.
Vladimir Tarasenko will return to the line up tonight as Adam Cracknell will sit for the Blues. Tarasenko will join Chris Porter and Ryan Reaves on the fourth line to start the game but will likely move up in the game if other players are ineffective in the game.
Alex Steen – 3 Games Played – 1 PPG – 1 SHG – 9 Shots
Alex Steen was the Blues hero in game one of the series, scoring both goals in a 2-1 overtime victory. His first goal came on the powerplay, giving the Blues a 1-0 lead. After the Kings tied it at the end of regulation, and Kevin Shattenkirk took a four minute high sticking penalty, it was Alex Steen stealing the puck from Jonathan Quick from behind the net and scoring shorthanded to give the Blues the win.
David Backes – 3 Games Played – 0 Goals – 14 Hits
Backes has been a force physically this series, and has had many scoring chances but has yet to record a point thus far in the first three games. He’s been centering the top line for St. Louis, in between veteran forward Alex Steen and rookie Jaden Schwartz. He continues to drive the forecheck and open up spaces for his line mates but only Steen has been able to put points on the board. Watch for Backes to continue to be a force in the series and for the Blues to continue to do well in the series, Backes needs to start scoring.
Brian Elliott – 3 Games Played – 0.93 GAA – .962 SV%
Elliott has continued to dominate between the pipes for the Blues. April was by far Elliott’s best month with an 11-2-0 record and has continued it with a 2-1-0 record in the playoffs. Elliott has given the Blues a chance to win every night and has to continue his superb play if the Blues want a chance to win this series. He has been the best Blues player on the ice and will have to be for a Blues win tonight.
LOS ANGLES KINGS
(1-2-0, in Series)
Dustin Brown – 3 Games Played – 1 Goal – 20 Hits
There is a very good reason that Brown leads the Stanley Cup playoffs in hits. He punishes anyone who is anywhere close to him with the puck. He’s blasted many Blues players through these three games and has proven he plays on the edge as he has already given a knee-on-knee hit to Jaden Schwartz. He’s has to be hit back and the Blues have to keep their heads up when he’s on the ice.
Justin Williams – 3 Games Played – 1 Goal – 15 Shots
Williams has been the Kings best forward when it comes to scoring chances this series. One of the few forwards who drives hard to Elliott and continuously throws shots on the net. The Blues must get their sticks on pucks around Williams otherwise he has the shot to beat the Blues defense.
Jonathan Quick – 3 Games Played – 1.25 GAA – .956 SV%
Quick has been a force thus far in the series, shutting the Blues down for most of every game. He has made a few mistakes in the series and has proven to be a very beatable goalie with the amount of rebounds he kicks out. The Blues must pounce on those rebounds and hit the net in order to beat Quick. If not, Quick will continue to look like a god and frustrate a lot of Blues fans.
Bottom line, the Blues have to keep their forecheck up and hem the Kings down in the defensive zone. They have to start pouncing on loose pucks and putting the puck on net as they have far to many shots going wide of the net. If they can do this, they have a good chance of taking the game in Los Angeles.
The Kings have to start pushing back harder and transitioning the puck out quicker if they want to continue to shut down the Blues offense. Their not putting enough shots on Elliott and the shots they are getting are from the outside. They have to start getting to the dirty areas of the ice if they want to put the puck past Elliott and have a chance to even the series up.
– #33 Willie Mitchell (D), IR w/ Lower-body injury (Knee), had arthroscopic surgery to scope knee. Mitchell will NOT return this season.
– #2 Matt Greene ‘A’ (D), Day-to-Day w/ Undisclosed but NOT related to recent Back Issue, questionable for Game 4 against St. Louis.
– #15 Jamie Langenbrunner (RW/LW), On IR w/ Hip surgery, out indefinitely and will miss the remainder of the season.
– #12 Scott Nichol (C), Day-to-Day w/ Lower-Body injury, out indefinitely, remains questionable for the Western Conference Quarterfinals against Los Angeles.
It’s a big night for the Blues, who can take a strangle hold with a win tonight!
LETS GO BLUES!
– Randall Ritchey