LOS ANGELES –
The Kings suffered their first home loss to the St. Louis Blues in 11 games Saturday night, a stretch that dated back to March 17 2011, falling 2-1 in a shootout at STAPLES Center.
In what was a very tightly-contested affair, the two clubs played physical, combining for 56 hits and a pair of fighting majors. The Blues only recorded a total of 16 shots on the evening, but generated quality chances when firing the puck at Jonathan Quick.
After a scoreless first period, Luke Schenn, in his second game with the Kings since being acquired in a trade from Philadelphia on Wednesday, squared off with Robert Bortuzzo after delivering a hard hit on St. Louis’ Dmitrij Jaskin.
Schenn’s hit provided some energy to the Kings, who found the back of the net 1:34 after the young defenseman’s physical statement.
Milan Lucic, battling for the puck low in the right corner of St. Louis’ zone, curled around to the end boards and found Anze Kopitar with a backhand pass as Kopitar headed toward the net. Kopitar, finding a seam between two Blues defensemen upon receiving the pass, cut across Brian Elliott’s crease, waited for the St. Louis goaltender to sprawl to the ice, then lifted a backhand shot to the top shelf to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.
Kopitar’s goal, his 11th of the season, was his 11th point in the last eight games.
Less than three minutes later, St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo beat Jonathan Quick to tie the game 1-1.
Defenseman Brayden McNabb was handed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for charging with 12 minutes to play in regulation for his hit on Magnus Paajarvi – a rather questionable call. The Kings successfully killed off the Blues’ five-minute power play.
The score tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, the Kings headed toward their 11th overtime of the season. The teams combined for five shots in the extra frame, but no goals were scored, the Kings heading to their fourth shootout of the season, their first on home ice.
Alexander Steen scored in the first round, Marian Gaborik the third, and Troy Brouwer in the seventh to seal the Blues’ 2-1 victory.
The Kings are now 2-2 in shootouts this season, and 8-3 in games that extend past regulation time.
Alec Martinez played in his 300th NHL game, logging 23:43 minutes of ice time, one shot on goal, one hit, and two shots blocked.
Anze Kopitar (1G) and Milan Lucic (1A) led all Kings players in points scored (1), Jeff Carter in shots taken (5), Trevor Lewis in hits delivered (7), Anze Kopitar and Luke Schenn in shots blocked (3), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (31:23). Jonathan Quick made 15 saves in the loss.
The Kings will continue their four-game home stand Monday night when they take on the Detroit Red Wings Saturday night at STAPLES Center, where the puck is slated to drop just after 7:30 PM PST.