ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Playing in one-goal games has become quite familiar to the St. Louis Blues.
Pavol Demitra and Eric Nickulas scored first-period goals and Chris Osgood made 21 saves to lead the Blues past the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 Saturday night. The Blues are 13-6 in one-goal games this season and 18-6-2-1 overall.
"I'd love to have a blowout, but it's not in the cards right now," Blues center Doug Weight said. "We have to be great defensively. We might win three in a row 6-1 or 6-3 or 6-4 if we just let loose. But we're not going to be 18-6 if we're playing that type of game."
Osgood said his job is to stop pucks but he wouldn't mind a little more offense.
"I think we'd like to score a little more and we've been having some trouble putting teams away after getting leads but we held the fort," Osgood said. "Hey, it's a tough league. I mean every team is good and there are no easy nights."
The Blues have not lost to the Kings at home since the 2001-2002 season and are 3-0 against Los Angeles this season. St. Louis is 10-2-1-0 at home, including a 4-1 win over Los Angeles on Dec. 2. The Blues also beat the Kings 1-0 on Nov. 15 in Los Angeles.
Osgood earned his 289th career victory, which ranks sixth among active players. Los Angeles backup Cristobal Huet faced 27 shots.
Winning the close games suits St. Louis coach Joel Quenneville, who said these wins will help his club later in the season.
"I think there's something we can gain from these games," Quenneville said. "Not too many games do you get a two-goal lead and you're in control the whole game. Teams find a way to get back in the game. Hopefully, this will help us down the road."
"This is great training for us," Weight said. "I don't necessarily like winning 2-1 or 3-2 or 3-2 in overtime. It takes a lot out of you. We're practicing the way we're going to have to win in those big games against great teams late in the year in March, April, May and June.
"We bend but we don't break. Games are going to be close and you have to know how to win them."
Demitra scored on a nifty move in front of the net at 5:14 of the first period. From the left corner, Murray Baron passed to Demitra, who faked right. Huet went down to block the attempt, but Demitra went left around him and popped the puck in for his 10th goal.
Nickulas deflected in Chris Pronger's wrist shot from the top of the left circle at 17:44 for a 2-0 St. Louis lead.
"Our 2-0 leads are always early," Osgood said. "There's always a lot of hockey left to be played."
There were nine penalties called in the second period. St. Louis had four power-play chances and the Kings had three, but neither could take advantage. The lone goal of the period came when Zigmund Palffy put back a rebound of his own shot from the right circle at 2:46, cutting the Blues lead to 2-1.
The Blues have not given up a power-play goal in eight home games, killing all 27 attempts. Overall, St. Louis has allowed just one power-play goal in seven games, killing 26 short-handed situations.
St. Louis improved to 15-1-1 when leading after two periods.
The Blues went 0-for-6 on the power play.
"We played real hard for 40 minutes but we shot ourselves in the foot in the first period," Los Angeles coach Andy Murray said. "We didn't have all of our good players playing real hard in the first period."
|Pavol Demitra (10) ASST: Murray Baron (4), Keith Tkachuk (10)|
1 - 0 STL
|Eric Nickulas (5) ASST: Chris Pronger (14), Doug Weight (17)|
2 - 0 STL
|Ziggy Palffy (12) ASST: Jozef Stumpel (9), Mattias Norstrom (5)|
2 - 1 STL
|Jaroslav Modry Cross checking|
|Doug Weight Roughing|
|John Tripp Fighting (maj)|
|Keith Tkachuk Fighting (maj)|
|Lubomir Visnovsky Hooking|
|Scott Mellanby Hi-sticking|
|Luc Robitaille Hi-sticking|
|Keith Tkachuk Hooking|
|Trent Klatt Tripping|
|Mike Cammalleri Interference|
|Chris Pronger Tripping|
|Jozef Stumpel Cross checking|
|Doug Weight Cross checking|
|Murray Baron Hi-sticking|
|Martin Straka Hooking - Obstruction|
|Mattias Norstrom Holding|