LOS ANGELES - So we meet again.
The Blues against the Kings.
Martin Brodeur against Jonathan Quick, who is expected to start for the Kings.
“I was looking forward to the next start with a lot of quality practice time and everything,” Brodeur said. “The team did really well in the last three games and (I) just try to keep everything going there. It’s a lot more fun when we get efforts like that every night. Just try to continue that.”
And he’s right. Tuesday was a lot of fun.
After trailing 2-1 after 40 minutes, the Blues scored four goals in the third to beat the Kings 5-2 at Scottrade Center in the first game of the home-and-home series. Three of the Blues’ goals were scored in a span of 2:30 and Vladimir Tarasenko netted his second hat trick of the season in the win.
“We won the game, but they were better than we were for half the game and we were better than they were for half the game,” Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said. “The score was positive on our side, but I think we know we’ve got play better and we know we’ve got to make adjustments. I’m sure they feel the same way.
“I think everybody in our locker room knows if we expect to win here tonight, we’re going to have to play a lot better than we did in St. Louis.”
Blues captain David Backes agreed.
“We’re in their building now in some hostile territory. Whoever gets to their game first and sustains it will have success,” Backes said. “(They have) two Cups in the last three years, and not because they sit back and see what happens. They’re a great team and we need to match that and give our best effort.”
Tuesday’s win was the Blues’ fifth consecutive victory. The Kings, meanwhile, have just one win in their last five (1-3-1).
As mentioned, Brodeur is anxious to get between the pipes. He’s very familiar with the Kings, who he met in the Stanley Cup Final back in 2012. Los Angeles jumped out to a 3-0 series lead but the Devils battled back, eventually falling in six games.
“It was unexpected in New Jersey that we were going to go that far and we faced a really good team in LA,” Brodeur said. “It was a good experience. For me, it was a lot of fun going back to the Stanley Cup Final and competing for it. Coming back here brings back a couple memories of it.”
Brodeur is 8-6-1 in the regular season against the Kings. In his regular season career at Staples Center, he is 4-3-1 with a 1.84 goals-against average, a .931 save-percentage and one shutout.
The puck drops tonight at 9:30 p.m. CT on FSMW and KMOX 1120 AM.
Dmitrij Jaskin was recalled from the Chicago Wolves on Wednesday and met the team in Los Angeles. He was on the ice for the morning skate and is expected to play tonight.
“He’s earned this,” Hitchcock said. “The only reason he went down (to the AHL) is because he could. He didn’t deserve to go down. He’s played well when he’s played here.”
“I think I just try to get stronger and faster every day, get some confidence back,” Jaskin said. “My skating, shooting, all that stuff is getting better.”
Jaskin ranks fourth on the Chicago Wolves in points (15). He has four goals and 11 assists in 17 games with the Wolves this season.
T.J. Oshie joined his teammates in Los Angeles after spending a few days dealing with a family matter. He will play tonight.
With Jaden Schwartz out of the lineup with a right foot injury, Hitchcock said he expects his players to step up and fill the void. “I think we’ve got players who are yearning for an extra opportunity,” Hitchcock said. “Guys like (Stastny), Steve Ott, (Chris) Porter - these guys are looking for increased responsibility and they’re going to get it now, which is a good sign. I think they’ll jump all over it.”
Tuesday’s win against the Kings earned the third-best regular season rating ever for a game on FOX Sports Midwest (6.6).
Since entering the league in 2012-13, Tarasenko has seven goals against the Kings, which is the most of any player League-wide. He has nine points in his last six games vs. LA (seven goals, two assists).