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Blues vs Kings

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Blues vs Kings - 2013 SCP Conference Quarterfinals

Crosby gets 100th playoff point

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scored his 100th point in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in grand style Friday night during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Ottawa Senators.

On his second shift of the game, Crosby took the puck at his own blue line and skated through the neutral zone along the left-side boards. At the attacking blue line, he faked out defenseman Erik Karlsson, who was caught a bit on his heels, and got free in the circle to snap off a low shot that beat Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson to the far side to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead at 3:16 of the first.

Blues see progress, but still seek playoff success

Louie Korac - Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- Packing up and heading home for the season is a day nobody looks forward to -- and when it happens as early as it did for the St. Louis Blues, who were projected as Stanley Cup contenders heading into the shortened season, the sting feels even greater.

The Blues served notice to the League that they were going to be among the top-heavy teams vying for the Stanley Cup after last season's 109-point campaign.

And after the trials and tribulations of a season that started well, sunk low enough where the Blues needed a reality check, then saw them re-gather themselves and finish sixth overall in the standings, another crash course was served up by the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Kings, who eliminated the Blues in a four-game sweep in 2012, took four straight once again -- but only after spotting St. Louis the first two games. They eliminated the Blues on Friday in Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

Five reasons Kings advanced to second round

Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 2:53 PM / Blues vs Kings - 2013 SCP Conference Quarterfinals

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

How close was the Western Conference Quarterfinal series between the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues? Only once did either team hold a two-goal lead, and that was for all of 5:01.

The teams combined for 479 hits in an inch-by-inch territorial tussle. If it went to a Game 7, they might have been playing until Memorial Day.

But the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings prevailed to win their fifth straight Stanley Cup Playoff series as the lower-seeded road team, and eliminated the Blues for the second straight year. What was the difference?

Let's start with that defending champion pedigree in the five reasons Los Angeles advanced to the semifinals:

Five reasons Blues were eliminated from playoffs

Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 12:53 PM / Blues vs Kings - 2013 SCP Conference Quarterfinals

Louie Korac - Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- After a season in which the St. Louis Blues made tremendous strides in 2011-12, expectations were running rampant in the Gateway City for 2012-13.

The Blues were coming off a 109-point season, which was second-best in franchise history, but one that saw them learn hard lessons in being swept by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Despite a season full of challenges that tested the mettle of a young but talented squad, the Blues were peaking at the right time, and entering the Stanley Cup Playoffs, some were picking them to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Final.

The Blues were able to narrow the gap between themselves and the Kings in their first-round series this year, but again fell short of their goal, losing to the Kings in six games.

The Blues' early exit will leave plenty of question marks in the offseason. Here are five reasons the Blues were eliminated sooner than expected from the postseason:

Blues lament what might have been

Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 2:00 AM / Blues vs Kings - 2013 SCP Conference Quarterfinals

Louie Korac - Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- Losing by one goal four times in a row makes a team wonder what went wrong. The St. Louis Blues were so close, yet so far away from dethroning the Los Angeles Kings.

The Blues again had the grit, determination, push, effort and everything that comes with winning a Stanley Cup Playoff series. But the most glaring aspect in their six-game loss to the Kings: a lack of finishing ability.

The Blues scored 10 goals in a Western Conference Quarterfinal series that was there for them, especially after winning the first two games. But the inability to score on high-end opportunities, and Kings goalie Jonathan Quick's ability to turn aside all other opportunities had the Blues thinking what more could they have done.

"I think that's probably the story of the series," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I would say for us missed opportunities. We had a lot of people play very hard ... didn't get timely goals. That's what playoffs is. Goaltending's a big part of it. I thought the best player in the series was their goalie. In the end, he made the big saves when we had the five or six close-in chances today. He made the big saves."

Kings prepared for Blues' desperate push

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- A series is never over until the handshake line. The Los Angeles Kings can testify, despite their romp through the Stanley Cup Playoffs last year.

Although Los Angeles posted an overall 16-4 record in the postseason, it went 4-4 in close-out games. The Kings will get their first crack of 2013 on Friday night against the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals (10 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Following the morning skate, coach Darryl Sutter touched on what is necessary to win after being reminded that his team came back from a 2-0 series deficit.

"The key is always composure with our team," Sutter said. "We don't get caught up in score, series, shift. It's the most important part of the game, and it has to feed from leaders, coaches, and it does, on our team. It's very simple.

"If you're talking about desperation or adversity, well, I guarantee there's guys that said when the series was 2-0 that we were done, or when we were down 2-0 in a game, we're done. Or when we score in the last minute to tie it up in St. Louis, St. Louis was done. [But] they scored in overtime. Nobody's done. That's why you get in long series."

Blues confident they can extend series on road

Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 5:40 PM / Blues vs Kings - 2013 SCP Conference Quarterfinals

Louie Korac - Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- Despite holding a 2-0 series lead, despite seeing that lead in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs slip away and put the St. Louis Blues on the brink of elimination against the defending champs, coach Ken Hitchcock cautioned not to anoint the Los Angeles Kings winners of this Western Conference Quarterfinal.

"This is not over," Hitchcock said Wednesday on the heels of the Blues' 3-2 overtime loss to the Kings in Game 5. "Somebody's got to win another hockey game. If we can raise our spirits again and go at it again like we did, I like our chances."

They're confident words from a coach whose team just dropped its third straight in the series.

All five games between the Blues and Kings have been decided by one goal, leaving no margin for error. It was the Blues who made the small slip Wednesday that led to Slava Voynov's second game-winning goal of the series eight minutes into overtime.

Oshie looks for redemption for 'embarrassing' Game 4

Wednesday, 05.08.2013 / 3:31 PM / Blues vs Kings - 2013 SCP Conference Quarterfinals

Louie Korac - Correspondent

T.J. Oshie
Right Wing - STL
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 2
SOG: 4 | +/-: -3
ST. LOUIS -- T.J. Oshie didn't shy away from the attention after Game 4.

The St. Louis Blues forward was critical of himself following his team's 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Quarterfinals, calling it embarrassing despite scoring the first two Stanley Cup Playoff goals of his career.

"I think we started trying to make some cute plays at the blue line," Oshie said. "I'll speak for my line when I say we were good at times and we were terrible at other times. I could have single-handedly prevented three of their goals. I'm probably to blame for those three."

With lead gone, Blues try to recapture momentum

Louie Korac - Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- It's a series now, and the St. Louis Blues leave Staples Center searching for a way to recapture the momentum they brought with them to the West Coast.

The Los Angeles Kings have it after a come-from-behind 4-3 win in Game 4 of this Western Conference Quarterfinal. With the series now tied 2-2, the Kings have momentum, and the Blues were left wondering where things went wrong after jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead Monday night.

"It's been like, 'Who's got control of anything right now?'" Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "They got momentum off the game today. I don't think they got momentum off of Game 3. We probably deserved a better fate in (Game) 3, but they took the game today. They were better than we were. They won a lot of puck battles that we'd been winning before. They dialed it up. There's another level out there. It's our job now to answer the level."

Voynov needed patience, perseverance to make NHL

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- When Slava Voynov first arrived in Manchester, N.H., to begin his hockey career on North American soil, he had the good fortune of fellow European Vladimir Dravecky as a teammate to help him adjust to the language and culture. Later, Alex Frolov was a valuable guide.

But when they weren't around anymore, Voynov turned to what a lot of foreign players rely on when it comes to learning English: American television.

"Breaking Bad," Voynov said.

The show is about a man who lives an alternate life on the other side of the law. While it's probably not ideal for teaching someone American culture, it could serve as a metaphor for Voynov, who eschewed more money in his native Russia to pursue an alternate career here as one of the best under-the-radar defensemen in the NHL for the Los Angeles Kings.

"Good for him," said Fedor Tyutin, a Russian defenseman for the Columbus Blue Jackets. "I don't know him that much personally, but just to hear what he had to through to get there and keep playing at that level and win the Cup. It's not like he was a high draft pick. He worked his way through hockey. He pretty much could have stayed in the KHL, but he chose to go to the AHL and work his way through. I personally have a lot of respect for that guy."

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