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Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 4:20 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Kings series blog

Blues ready to confront desperate group of Kings

LOS ANGELES -- The St. Louis Blues have a 2-0 series lead heading into Saturday's Game 3 against the Los Angeles Kings (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS), but won't sit comfortably thinking the series is in the bag.

Both games in St. Louis, 2-1 victories (including the first in overtime), could have gone the other way with one shot. But the Blues, who have never lost when leading a playoff series 2-0 (they're 10-0 in franchise history) will look to snap a five-game losing skid in this building, including a 6-4 collapse on March 5 when they led 4-1 in the second period.

"For us, we just have to play 60 minutes with competitive composure," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We're going to have to absorb some blows, just like you do any place on the road, but we just have to maintain our composure. We gathered it back in (Thursday) in the second half of the game and won the game because of it. We're going to have to find a way to have to do it for more minutes than 30 minutes if we expect to win in this building."


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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 2:15 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Kings series blog

Kings swap Fraser in for Richardson in Game 2

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues will keep their Game 1 lineup intact for Thursday night. The Los Angeles Kings will make one change at forward with a few tweaks elsewhere for Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals, as Colin Fraser will replace Brad Richardson.

Here are the projected lineups for the Blues and Kings:


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Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 4:09 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Kings series blog

Blues set physical tone early in Game 1

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- After being pushed out of their element by the Los Angeles Kings en route to being swept in the Stanley Cup Playoffs a season ago, the St. Louis Blues felt like the only way to dictate the tempo in the Western Conference Quarterfinals opener between the two teams Tuesday was to initiate the contact and most importantly, push first.

The Blues, who took Game 1, 2-1 on Alexander Steen's shorthanded overtime goal, came out with an intensity that was packed with the kind of physical element that's suited for their style of play.

"I think last year they did it to us," Blues enforcer Ryan Reaves said of the 2012 sweep. "They came out, all four lines were physical. They pushed us out. We really didn't have a response for them.

"I think this year, it's got to be the opposite. We've got to come out and push them out first and then when they push back, we've got to push harder."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 3:47 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Kings series blog

Sutter says Greene not ready for Kings

ST. LOUIS -- After dropping Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals series 2-1 in overtime against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Kings held an optional skate Wednesday at Scottrade Center.

A dozen players along with backup goalie Jonathan Bernier participated in advance of Thursday's Game 2.

Among them was defenseman Matt Greene, who missed Game 1 and the regular-season finale with an undisclosed injury.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.30.2013 / 2:15 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Kings series blog

Hitchcock opts for experience in Game 1

ST. LOUIS -- Ken Hitchcock wouldn't play his card Monday. He did Tuesday: T.J. Oshie will return to the St. Louis Blues lineup for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Los Angeles Kings.

Who will Oshie replace? It was assumed one of the fourth-line players would be taken out, with Adam Cracknell at the top of the list. But Hitchcock will instead sit rookie Vladimir Tarasenko, at least for the first game.

"I've always believed that the first kick at the can in playoffs is for veteran players," Hitchcock said. "You give them a go. Tarasenko, [Dmitrij] Jaskin will probably get some time during the playoffs, but you want to give the veterans a chance to prove -- unless they've really underperformed -- they want to take the ball and run with it. That's what we're going to do. If somebody under performs, then we won't hesitate to replace and move from there."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 1:38 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Flames, Blues

ST. LOUIS -- The probable lineups for Thursday night's game between the Calgary Flames and St. Louis Blues from Scottrade Center.

FLAMES

Mike Cammalleri - Matt Stajan - Lee Stempniak

Sven Baertschi - Mikael Backlund - Jiri Hudler

Paul Byron - Roman Horak - Roman Cervenka

Maxwell Reinhart - Blair Jones - Tim Jackman

Mark Giordano - Dennis Wideman

TJ Brodie - Mark Cundari

Chris Butler - Anton Babchuk

Joey MacDonald

Miikka Kiprusoff


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Posted On Tuesday, 04.23.2013 / 2:53 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Blues hope to clinch spot in rematch with Avalanche

ST. LOUIS -- Here is a look at the probable lineups for the rematch Tuesday night between the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues from Scottrade Center. The Avalanche won 5-3 Sunday night in Denver.

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Posted On Friday, 04.19.2013 / 1:56 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Stars, Blues

ST. LOUIS -- The probable lineups for Friday's matchup between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues from Scottrade Center.

Both teams are coming off victories Thursday night and did not have regular gameday skates.

STARS

Ray Whitney - Jamie Benn - Loui Eriksson

Reilly Smith - Cody Eakin - Ryan Garbutt

Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Erik Cole

Antoine Roussel - Tom Wandell - Matt Fraser

Trevor Daley - Stephane Robidas

Brenden Dillon - Alex Goligoski

Aaron Rome - Philip Larsen

Kari Lehtonen

Richard Bachman


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Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 1:40 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Coyotes, Blues

ST. LOUIS -- Probable lineups for Thursday night's Western Conference matchup between the Phoenix Coyotes and St. Louis Blues from Scottrade Center:


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Posted On Sunday, 04.14.2013 / 11:49 AM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Bolland in, Sharp out for Blackhawks

ST. LOUIS -- Dave Bolland is back, but Patrick Sharp is out from the Chicago Blackhawks' lineup Sunday when they face the St. Louis Blues [12:30 p.m. ET] on NBC's Game of the Week.

Bolland missed the previous four games with a lower-body injury, initially hurt against the Nashville Predators while blocking a Shea Weber shot April 1. Bolland played the next game against the Blues in Chicago three days later but has not dressed since.

Sharp, who had missed 14 games with a shoulder injury, returned to play the last two games but will not be in the lineup today after not making the trip Saturday with an upper-body injury, presumably the same one that forced Sharp to miss a month.

For the Blues, T.J. Oshie (foot) will miss his eighth consecutive game Sunday. He was injured blocking a shot against the Los Angeles Kings March 28. Oshie's been on the ice and skated for the last week and is presumably close to returning, perhaps during the Blues' four-game homestand this week.

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I think that’s the sign of a good team. When you don’t play well, and you don’t stay focused and you don’t do the intangibles that it takes, you still win the hockey game.

— New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano after their win vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday
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