(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Kings got off to a slow start in this
postseason, but the defending Stanley Cup champions will have a chance to take
their first lead of the Western Conference quarterfinals when they visit the
Blues for Wednesday's Game 5 in St. Louis.
The Blues won the first two tests of this best-of-seven series on home ice and
both victories came by 2-1 scores. However, the Kings, who swept St. Louis out
of the playoffs in last year's conference semifinals, answered with
consecutive wins as the host to even the series at 2-2.
Los Angeles has come back from an 0-2 hole to win a series just once in team
history, taking four straight to defeat Detroit in six games of the 2001
Western Conference quarterfinals.
After posting a 1-0 win in Game 3, Los Angeles earned a 4-3 triumph on Monday
to tie the series. All four games in this set have been decided by one goal,
but Game 1 was the only tilt that went to overtime.
It didn't look good for the Kings early in Game 4, as they fell behind 2-0 in
the first 4:32 of play. However, L.A. scored twice to end the opening period
and even the score at 2-2 after 20 minutes. The Blues notched the lone goal of
the second period to grab a 3-2 edge, but the Kings received goals from Anze
Kopitar and Justin Williams over a span of 76 seconds in the third.
Anze Kopitar tied the game just before Williams' goal, as he one-timed a
Dustin Brown pass into the net at 7:14 of the final period. Williams then
scored the winner at 11:30 of the third as he tipped in the rebound of a shot
from Mike Richards.
From there, Quick did the rest, but he didn't need to do much as the Los
Angeles defense neutralized the St. Louis attack by limiting the team to just
five shots in the third period.
"Quick has made some big saves to keep us in it," said Kopitar. "And it's nice
to get enough goals to reward him. It's the small things that give you
success. Fortunately we got the two goals in the third and they held up."
Dustin Penner and Jeff Carter had first-period goals for the Kings, while
Quick stopped 19 shots for the win.
T.J. Oshie had two goals while David Backes also lit the lamp for the Blues.
Brian Elliott made 25 stops in the loss.
"They took the game to another level and we didn't have an answer," said St.
Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock. "We didn't manage the puck very well in the
second or third period and they dialed it up. Now it's our job to answer."
The Blues hope L.A. continues to struggle on the road in Game 5. The Kings had
a poor 8-12-4 mark on the road in the regular season before losing Games 1 and
2 in St. Louis. The Blues, meanwhile, were 15-8-1 as the host this season.
Game 6 of this series is scheduled for Friday in Los Angeles.
This is the third all-time playoff encounter between the Kings and Blues and
St. Louis had won the first two meetings before getting swept a year ago.
The Sports Network