The St. Louis Blues wrapped up their recent road trip hoping to re-write the script they’ve been following at Staples Center in Los Angeles. St. Louis had lost its last 8 meetings with the Kings in LA dating back through the playoffs and last season. Late heroics from Kevin Shattenkirk and Vladi Tarasenko were not enough to produce a Hollywood ending for the Blues who lost to the Kings 3-2. Their 9th straight loss in the building.
The Blues came out totally flat and lifeless Friday in San Jose, and looked to rebound against the Kings, facing them for the 1st time since being eliminated in the Game 5 last season. St. Louis played decent hockey for about 10 minutes from the opening face-off and then the wheels fell off. Jaroslav Halak and shoddy defense by the Blues gave up 2 LA goals as they out-shot St. Louis 13-9.
The Kings dominated the Blues in almost every aspect of the game, including a staggering 52-31 hit tally. More importantly, St. Louis couldn’t keep LA off the scoreboard in the 2nd period either, falling behind 3-0 on a goal by LA rookie Tyler Toffoli, his 2nd of the game, at 5:48.
St. Louis finally got on the board in the 3rd period when Shattenkirk took an excellent cross-ice feed from Tarasenko and buried a goal past Ben Scrivens. Jaden Schwartz also assisted on the goal, extending his point streak to 7 games.
The Blues scrapped and clawed their way back into the game late when Tarasenko tipped the puck in with 15 seconds left after Shatty flung it at the net from the blueline. It was too little, too late though, and the buzzer sounded on back-to-back regulation losses by St. Louis for just the 1st time this season.
There really isn’t much positive to take away from this game. The Blues killed both LA power-plays, that’s a good thing, but they also failed on three attempts of their own. St. Louis out-shot the Kings (barely) 27-23 but were man-handled along the boards, through the neutral zone, AND in the face-off circles. Scrivens has filled in admirably for the injured Jonathan Quick, improving to 6-1-3 in relief, and was able to stop everything he had a chance to see. It’s always a tough, heavy game against the Kings but the Blues needed a win coming off a drubbing by the Sharks. Instead, they returned home 1-2 on the trip and now 5 points back of Conference leading Chicago.
The Blues are back at Scottrade Center tomorrow night to host the Islanders and we may see Ian Cole and Magnus Paajarvi back in the line-up. Carlo Colaiacovo was in for Cole Monday night and Adam Cracknell took the ailing Paajarvi’s spot. The Swede missed practice and the game Monday with the flu. Still a lot of hockey left this season so let’s hope this isn’t the start of a protracted slide for St. Louis. They got off their game and were not ready to play 60 minute hockey in these two losses. Perhaps returning to home ice will be the lift they need.
GO BLUES! LONG LIVE THE NOTE!