Blues goaltender Jake Allen (34) protects the net from Kings forward Jeff Carter (77). (Photo courtesy: Getty Images)
12/23: Blues/Kings, Staples Center, 9pm CT – FSMW, ESPN 101.1
LOS ANGELES – The St. Louis Blues (23-8-6) can sweep the California road trip tonight in a matchup against the Los Angeles Kings (15-19-4). St. Louis went down 1-0 in Saturday’s game against San Jose, but captain Alex Pietrangelo scored a pair of goals and Jake Allen made 34 saves to contribute to a 5-2 win.
“This group, we just find a way to win,” Pietrangelo said to the STL Post-Dispatch. “It’s never easy coming over to the West Coast the day before and sometimes you don’t have your legs. I didn’t think we did tonight but we found a way.”
Jake Allen was terrific in net the whole game, after winning two consecutive starts in place of Jordan Binnington. “I knew I was going to play this game anyways, so I knew I was going to get two in a row,” Allen commented. “Good to go back-to-back. You obviously feel a little bit more comfortable the more games you play, especially on consecutive games. It’s been good and now I get a few days and then a break.”
Despite going 4-0-2 in their previous six, the Kings fell to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, 3-2. “Effort was there, a pretty evenly played game, could’ve went to either side,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “Both teams hit a few posts … so at the end of the night we come out on the short end, but not disappointed in the effort or what was put into the game.”
The Blues and Kings wrap up the season series tonight at Staples Center at 9pm CT. The Blues and Kings met earlier in the season, with St. Louis winning 5-2 thanks to a 2-goal effort from Brayden Schenn.
Binnington Gets a Rest
When Jake Allen was announced to start his second consecutive game against San Jose, many people started to feel a little panicked about the status of Jordan Binnington. Through the Blues’ 37 games, Binnington has started 26, going 16-6-4. Nothing in recent games had suggested his health or energy was in question, which sparked some questions when Allen started two in a row.
“When you’re on the ice you go hard and you’re efficient, and when you’re off the ice you’re getting your rest and recovery and taking care of yourself and all the same old things,” Binnington told the Post-Dispatch.
Head coach Craig Berube stressed the importance of giving Binnington rest after his successful late season and postseason run, where he started 30 games from January 7th on.
“It’s a lot of hockey we’ve played and you pick your spots in the schedule that work well and Jake’s playing great and the team’s rolling,” Binnington continued. “We’re all playing well, so hopefully we stick with that and keep building as the year goes and keep adapting as the season comes along.”
Ryan O’Reilly ended a 9-game goal drought with an empty netter on Saturday. He now has points in 5 straight games…Jaden Schwartz eclipsed 200 assists, all with the Blues, on Saturday… Brayde Schenn scored his 400th career NHL point with an assist on Saturday.
The Blues and Kings face off tonight at 10pm ET at Staples Center. The Blues are on Fox Sports Midwest, ESPN 101.1, streaming on FSGO, and play-by-play on NHL.com.
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