LOS ANGELES - The Blues haven’t played since Saturday (a 4-1 win vs. Calgary at Scottrade Center), but they’ll face a tough test when they get back on the ice tonight at Staples Center in Los Angeles, where the defending champion Kings are waiting.
“It feels like such a long period of time between games that I hope we don’t have to get restarted again,” Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said. “The last five periods of hockey we’ve played have been excellent, and that’s what we want to build off of.
“It feels like we weren’t even in the League, like we were watching the League on television, and now we get to join it.”
The Blues will face a Kings team that was won two consecutive games after going 0-1-1 to start the season. The Kings have scored 10 goals in their last two wins (Oct. 12 vs. Winnipeg and Oct. 14 vs. Edmonton).
Early on, it’s the line of Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson who have been contributing offensively. Pearson leads the Kings with four goals, while Carter has three and Toffoli has two.
“You can’t let them feed the engine. They’re going to get scoring chances,” Hitchcock said about the line. “They’ve got a lot of skill, they’ve got a lot of size, you just can’t give them easy ones. They’ve gotten far too many easy scoring chances based on the opposition’s turnovers…we don’t want to give them the second or third chances.
“We’ve got to be diligent and make it hard for them defensively. When we get the chance to get the puck out, we’ve got to get it out of the zone on the first try.”
Tonight’s game is a 9:30 p.m. start time in St. Louis on FOX Sports Midwest and Y98 FM.
With four days between games, the Blues took a team-bonding trip to Palm Desert, Calif., which is about 120 miles east of Los Angeles.
After a rigorous training camp and preseason, the team enjoyed a few days in the sun before taking a bus to LA for tonight’s game.
“It was great because for the majority of the preseason, there were guys I didn’t really see because teams were still split up into two (groups),” Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. “It was weird when we came back together in the last few games and tried to gel.
“It’s always nice to get back in the swing of things and get out on the road together.”
The team practiced on Monday and Tuesday at the Desert Ice Castle, which didn’t have locker rooms. The players had to dress in full gear at the hotel, carry their skates and then take a bus to the rink.
“It’s always fun to go to a place where guys can golf, have fun together and not have that pressure of focusing on the game tomorrow,” forward Maxim Lapierre said. “(It was) just literally being friends and having fun. It’s always good for a team.”
Patrik Berglund will be back in the lineup after missing Saturday’s game vs. Calgary with an upper-body injury.
Over the past five seasons, the Blues are 20-8-3 after having three or more days rest.
Paul Stastny has 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) in 29 career games against the Kings.
The Blues have killed 23 consecutive Kings power plays and haven’t given up a power-play goal in the last five meetings.
Joakim Lindstrom will play in his 100th career NHL game tonight.
Vladimir Tarasenko has five points (four goals, one assist) in his last five games against the Kings.
David Backes is one assist shy of 200 in his NHL career.