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Blues set for critical showdown with Kings

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

LOS ANGELES - As of Friday afternoon, the Blues trailed the Los Angeles Kings by four points for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, making Saturday's 3 p.m. CT game between the clubs one that could have a big impact on the playoff picture.

Fans can tune into the action on FOX Sports Midwest and Y98 FM live from Staples Center. Coverage will also be available at stlouisblues.com, the NHL App and on Blues social media accounts.

 

THE MATCHUP

BLUES Jake Allen made a surprise start after Carter Hutton sustained a neck injury Thursday in San Jose and turned in a stellar performance, making 34 saves on 35 shots in a 2-0 loss to the Sharks.

San Jose broke a scoreless tie with a power-play goal from Mikkel Boedker with less than eight minutes remaining in regulation. Tomas Hertl scored an empty-netter to seal the win with 15 seconds remaining.

"Jake was outstanding. He was very good, came in in a tough situation and responded very well," Blues Head Coach Mike Yeo said after the game. "For me, this game was a different level than his past few. There's been some games where it's looked good in spurts, but tonight I'd say was his most complete game he's played in awhile."

"It's hockey," Allen said of being throwin in unexpectedly. "These things happen. You have to be ready to go. I felt like I played solid. It's just tough to get wins right now. We have our backs to the wall. We're not getting chances like we used to. We have to step it up or it's going to be tough."

Video: Blues head to Hollywood for matchup with Kings

KINGS Jeff Carter, Trevor Lewis and Kyle Clifford scored for the Kings on Thursday, lifting their club to a 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals and their fourth victory in the last six games.

The win moved the Kings back into the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, where they sit one point ahead of Colorado and Calgary and four ahead of the Blues.

"They're all playoff games, for us especially," Lewis told NHL.com after Thursday's win. "Coming down the stretch here, we've got some must-win games just to be able to get in (to the playoffs), so every game is big right now."

The Kings are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games.

HEAD-TO-HEAD The Blues and Kings have split the season series, with Los Angeles winning the last meeting between the teams 4-1 on Dec. 1 at Scottrade Center.

The Blues have collected points in seven of their last 11 games against the Kings (6-4-1) and are 2-2-1 in their last five trips to Staples Center.


HOT VS. LOS ANGELES

- Vladimir Tarasenko has 14 points in 16 career games (eight goals, six assists)

- Jaden Schwartz has seven points in his last seven games (four goals, three assists)

- Alexander Steen has four points in his last four games (one goal, three assists)

- Alex Pietrangelo has three assists in his last three games

- Allen is 4-2-0 with a 1.86 goals-against average, a .939 save-percentage and one shutout in six career starts against the Kings.


BLUE NOTES

- Colton Parayko's next point will be the 100th of his NHL career.

- Brayden Schenn, who played in his 500th career game on Thursday in San Jose, was a first-round pick (No. 5) of the Kings in 2009.

- On March 10, 1985, Doug Wickenheiser scored his second career hat trick in the Blues' 6-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings.

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