Season Series: This is the second of four meetings between the teams. In the first matchup, Los Angeles shut St. Louis out, 5-0, behind 27 saves from Jonathan Quick. The win snapped a seven-game losing skid for the Kings.
Big Story: Both the Blues and Kings come in on the heels of a streak-breaking loss. New coach Ken Hitchcock had St. Louis seeking for their season-best fourth straight win against Minnesota on Saturday, but was foiled by Wild captain Mikko Koivu's two goals and shootout winner. Los Angeles also had a three-game run snapped Saturday, when Detroit beat them at Staples Center, 4-1.
Kings: With three wins on the trot, Los Angeles welcomed Detroit with a Mike Richards shorthanded goal for a quick first-period lead. That was where the positives ended for the Kings, as Pavel Datsyuk scored 37 seconds later and Detroit proceeded to ice the game away. The forecheck lagged as skaters seemed to lack motivation, but defenseman Matt Greene said turnovers turned the game.
"They capitalized on turnovers and we didn't," Greene said. "When you play these guys, there are shifts when you're in your zone for a little while, but tonight it was way too much. We turned pucks over and played right into their game. They had a great game. A lot of their guys were playing really well. We played right into their system like that, so they're going to have great success."
Blues: Despite the shootout loss, St. Louis is still undefeated in regulation -- 4-0-2 -- under Hitchcock. And had it not been for a costly hooking penalty late in regulation, the Blues might be winners of four in a row. Jason Arnott went to the box at 18:12 of the third, allowing Koivu to score his second of the night on the power play to force overtime. Still, St. Louis has allowed just eight goals over the six-game stretch -- after allowing 35 in their first 13 -- an impressive rate due in large part to the goaltending of Jaroslav Halak.
"He was stellar in net," defenseman Barret Jackman said of Halak, who made multiple game-preserving saves prior to Koivu's second. "We should've got the win for him."
Who's Hot: Simon Gagne, who had two goals and an assist in the first meeting, has five points in six games for Los Angeles. … T.J. Oshie scored one and assisted on the other against Minnesota. Oshie was also the only Blue to score in the shootout.
Stat Pack: Halak and Quick reversed recent fortunes when the teams met earlier this season. Halak, who had been 5-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA lifetime against the Kings, was pulled in the second after conceding four goals on 18 shots. Quick – the losing goalie in each of those seven defeats – recorded his first-ever shutout against St. Louis.
Puck Drop: "That was maybe the one thing that disappointed me as much as anything in the game, is that we were not skating anywhere near the way we skated in the last three games. They recognized it and they took advantage of us." – Kings coach Terry Murray on his team's lackluster performance against Detroit