St. Louis Blues Fall to Los Angeles Kings 4-3

Back to the road for the St. Louis Blues who visited the Staples Center on Monday afternoon to take on the Los Angeles Kings. These two teams met last on November 19th at Enterprise Center. The result was a shutout for Los Angeles’ rookie netminder, Cal Petersen. The Blues came into this one looking for payback, and to even the series up. The Blues will play the Kings a 3rd and final time on March 7th.

The Kings were coming off of an ugly 7-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. St. Louis had just won 3-2 over the Ottawa Senators. These games were played Saturday night and both teams have seen a day of rest. Los Angeles held 42 points coming into this one which is good for last among the league.

This was the first of 2 consecutive road games before the All-Star break as the Blues will face Anaheim at Honda Center on Wednesday night. With the exception of the All-Star, Ryan O’Reilly, St. Louis will have a 9-day break. 6 of the 8 games to follow will then be on the road as well for the Blues.

Carl Gunnarson carried a career-best 5 game point streak into this one having scored 2 goals and registered 3 assists for 5 points. David Perron would not make this road trip with the Blues due to an upper-body injury. Zach Sanford (concussion), Tyler Bozak (concussion), and Robert Thomas (shoulder) made the trip but wouldn’t play. This was Jay Bouwmeester’s 400th game as a Blue.

St. Louis wouldn’t see Cal Petersen between the pipes this time.

Team Records

  • Blues: (21-21-5)
  • Kings: (19-26-4)

Craig Berube went with the same lineup as in the last game against Ottawa.

Forward Lines

  1. Maroon, O’Reilly, Tarasenko
  2. Schwartz, Schenn, Steen
  3. Blais, Sundqvist, Kyrou
  4. Nolan, Barbashev, MacEachern

Defensive Pairings

  1. Gunnarsson, Pietrangelo
  2. Bouwmeester, Parayko
  3. Dunn, Bortuzzo

Starting Goaltenders

STL – Jordan Binnington: (4-0-1, 1.62 GAA, .936 SP)

LA – Jonathan Quick: (8-12-3, 2.96 .903 GAA, SP)

Goals Scored: Mackenzie MacEachern, Oskar Sundqvist, Tyler Toffoli, Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, Ryan O’Reilly, Paul LaDue

Game Summary

1st Period

1:23 seconds in, Alex Iafollo nearly scored as he bounced a puck off of Jordan Binnington’s back after a shot bounced off the boards behind the net. Luckily, the puck hit the crossbar and stayed out. The entire building thought Iafollo scored but the goal was immediately waved off.

Jake Muzzin put his body on the line to block a shot from Carl Gunnarsson. We saw Jonathan Quick some key saves on Jaden Schwartz, Colton Parayko, and Alex Pietrangelo. Austin Wagner then had himself a decent attempt with his backhand chance on Binnington, but Jordan kept it out.

Los Angeles went on their first Power Play at 7:43 as Vince Dunn was called for holding Anze Kopitar. Binnington made a key save on an Ilya Kovalchuck slapshot with the shaft of his stick.

Other than that, Anze Kopitar had a shot that went wide. The Blues killed the penalty and only allowed a shot on goal.

St. Louis had won every faceoff thus far. Los Angeles had blocked 3 shots and taken the puck away from the Blues once. St. Louis was leading 5-3 in hits. Shots were tied at 6 with 9:46 remaining in the first period.

Shortly after, Vince Dunn let a puck go from the point that bounced off of Jonathan Quick’s right pad. A juicy rebound sat there in the crease for Mackenzie MacEachern to cash in and make it 1-0 St. Louis. That’s 24-year-old MacEeachern’s 1st NHL goal.

With 4 minutes remaining, Shots on Goal were 11-10 in favor of St. Louis. The Blues were winning 68% of the draws. Las Angeles still hadn’t taken the puck from St. Louis more than once. Hits were tied at 7 and both clubs had been showing some sloppy play to get through the neutral zone.

Jordan Binnington made another key save on a speedy Austin Wagner.

Oskar Sundqvist was able to then score on Quick when he swatted at a puck that Ivan Barbashev sent into the slot. Jonathan Quick tried to poke check but Sunny made a quick decision to put the Blues up 2-0.

The Kings responded quickly. Just 15 seconds later, Tyler Toffoli was able to score to decrease the Blues lead to 1. He was left uncovered, to the right of Binnington who was at the top of his crease square to the shooter.

To end the period, Shots on Goal were 14-13 in favor of the Kings. St. Louis had won 64% of the faceoffs. The Blues outhit the Kings 10-7 and shots blocked belonged to the Blues as well at 5-3.

2nd Period

St. Louis began playing the 2nd period very well. In the first 5 minutes or so, Quick made saves on Ryan O’Reilly and Mackenzie MacEachern. Jordan Kyrou took a shot wide of the net. Carl Gunnarsson let a decent shot go that was deflected wide of the net. O’Reilly sent a puck to the slot for a Patrick Maroon tip-in, but Anze Kopitar got a stick on it to break it up.

Jordan Binnington then said no to a Kyle Clifford backhand. Shortly after, Robert Bortuzzo would send a long wrister at Quick that was gloved down.

Jordan Kyrou was then called for hooking Ilya Kovalchuk at 13:50. The Kings went on their second power play. Binnington made one save on Jeff Carter. 56 seconds in, Robert Bortuzzo was called for high sticking Drew Doughty and it was a double minor.

It would be 5 on 3 for 1:04, and it only took a few seconds for Drew Doughty to tie the game with a one-timer from the top of the right circle. Anze Kopitar sent the pass from near the bottom of the right circle near the goal line.

The Kings Power Play would continue, and then a Jay Bouwmeester slashing penalty would give the LA kings another 5 on 3 advantage. There was a shorthanded opportunity for Ryan O’Reilly but Quick answered with his blocker.

On the other end, after some pressure by the Kings, a juicy rebound was there for Anze Kopitar, and he hit the pipe. Binnington was seeing some luck in this game. The Blues will take it.

We then saw a key save by Jordan Binnington on Anze Kopitar who was shooting from a tough angle, but Binnington had to adjust quickly.

The Blues were able to kill the second 5 on 3.  The Kings were now 1 for 5 on the Power Play. Hits were tied at 10. Faceoffs were 56% to 44% in favor of St. Louis. The Blues hadn’t blocked any shots in the 2nd period while Los Angeles had blocked 4.

Jake Muzzin was called for holding Pat Maroon’s stick at 12:32. The Blues went on to see their first Power Play opportunity. Alex Pietrangelo and Pat Maroon shots would miss the net. Jonathan quick then made key saves on Ryan O’Reilly, Jaden Schwartz, and Alex Steen. The Blues were unsuccessful on the man advantage.

It was back to full strength hockey and Alex Iafollo let one go from the top of the left circle. Jordan Binnington made a glove save. Jordan Nolan was then denied on the other end with a wrist shot from the slot by Quick.

Jeff Carter put a good hit on Alex Pietrangelo. Alex looked quite frustrated and chirped at Carter or the officials. Play continued. Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar had a 2 on 1 with Carl Gunnarsson and capitalized. Brown sent the puck from Binnington’s left over into the slot after waiting patiently to make the pass. Kopitar had an easy finish.

Obviously, St. Louis took way too many penalties. Some solid saves from Jordan Binnington had the Blues only looking at a 1 goal deficit when it could have been much worse. St. Louis led 27-23 in Shots on Goal and they were winning 59% of the draws. The Kings were outhitting the Blues 15-12. Blocked shots were 8-7 in favor of Kings.

3rd Period

Robert Bortuzzo, Vince Dunn, and Jordan Nolan blocked some shots to start things off as Kings were in control of the puck. The Blues were behind the play. Alexander Steen then took a low shot on Jonathan Quick that would bounce off of his pad for a decent opportunity but Brayden Schenn was unable to finish.

Brendan Leipsic and Jeff Carter saw themselves a 2 on 1 and nearly scored but Carter shot wide of the net. Jordan Binnington then made a good save on Carl Hagelin. Jordan was slow to get up after making this save.

At 5:18, Dion Phaneuf was called for cross-checking Oskar Sundqvist and the Blues would go on their 4th Power Play. Ryan O’Reilly then scored on the man advantage after the Blues patiently waited for the shot. O’Reilly shot from the right dot and just squeeze it over Quick’s shoulder to tie the game at 3.

Drew Doughty hit the post from between the top of the two circles.

Paul Ladue then was able to score. Alexander Steen dove out to try and block this shot. It bounced off Steen’s leg and went in over the right shoulder of Jordan Binnington. 4-3 Kings.

With 9:40 remaining, the Blues were leading in shots on goal 32-26. St. Louis was winning 55% of faceoffs and blocked shots were 10-8 in favor of the Blues. The Kings were leading in hits 23 to 18.

Jay Bouwmeester made a key defensive play with the shaft of his stick. He was in Binnington’s crease and his stick redirected an Anze Kopitar shot out of play. This surely would have been a goal otherwise.

Austin Wagner had a chance on Binnington who answered with a good save to keep the Blues a 1 goal deficit. On the other end, we saw a wide open net for Sammy Blais who was unable to capitalize at the back door of Jonathan Quick.

The time winded down until the Blues pulled for the extra attacker with about 1:20 remaining. Dustin Brown made a big shot block and the puck ended up back in the Blues end. St. Louis went to work down low. Jaden Schwartz fed Tarasenko at the goal line near Quick’s left.

The Blues had 28 seconds to tie the game but wouldn’t get a shot off.

St. Louis put 36 shots on goal to Los Angeles’ 29. Jonathan Quick made 33 saves.

My Thoughts

The Blues got into a lot of penalty trouble in the second period. They spent a lot of energy killing those penalties and that may be the difference of this game. Jordan Binnington obviously didn’t get the result that he wanted in this game, but he sure received a lot of luck.

Sammy Blais had the tying goal in his lap, but he whiffed on it. He’s not going to be able to sleep tonight. I like Blais a lot, but that’s a golden opportunity there. In his defense, it was a puck that bounced off of a skate. He couldn’t have possibly anticipated it coming, and his reaction was just late because of that.

Carl Gunnarsson failed to take the passing lane away on a 2 on 1 and that resulted in an easy goal. Jordan Binnington was committed to the shooter who then became the passer. Carl didn’t break up the play and that’s a goal against.

The Kings came into this game ready to play. They were embarrassed by Colorado and they wanted to redeem themselves. Anybody can beat anybody in this league, but this is a tough one to swallow.

A positive is the O’Reilly Power Play goal. It was timely, and it gave this team a chance. The Blues first Power Play wasn’t a bad performance, but Jonathan Quick had answers.

The Blues will play one more game before this All-Star break and it is on the road. They’ll face off against the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday night at 9:00. The game will be aired on Fox Sports Midwest.


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