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Kings try to avoid skid in St. Louis

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings


TREKKING ON: Tonight marks the third and final meeting with the Blues this season and the Kings’ second visit to St. Louis’ Scottrade Center. The Blues are playing the second of a two-game home stand; they’re coming off of a 2-1 OT win over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night. The Kings are playing the sixth of a seven-game road trip; they’re coming off of a 3-1 loss to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.

LINEUP: The Kings held a morning skate at Scottrade Center in anticipation of tonight’s game. Nick Shore and Kevin Gravel remained on the ice for extra work, so it is likely that Andy Andreoff and Jami McBain will slide back into the lineup. Jonathan Quick is expected to start in net.

FORWARDS

LUCIC – KOPITAR – BROWN
KING – CARTER – TOFFOLI
PEARSON – LECAVALIER – LEWIS
CLIFFORD – ANDREOFF – NOLAN
(SHORE)

DEFENSEMEN

MCNABB – DOUGHTY
MUZZIN – MARTINEZ
SCHENN – MCBAIN
(GRAVEL)

GOALTENDERS

QUICK
(ENROTH)

OFFENSIVE SPARK: Tyler Toffoli will match his longest drought of the season if he doesn’t register a goal tonight against the Blues. Without a goal in five games, Toffoli addressed the Kings’ recent scoring issues, “I want to score goals obviously, but right now as a team we want to win games. However that happens, whoever is scoring goals that’s all that really matters. It sounds cliche, but that’s how we all feel in the room right now.” Toffoli has one assist in two games against the Blues this season.

ROAD WEARY: On the tail end of their long road trip, the Kings have posted a 2-3-0 record thus far, having lost two straight games. The Kings have not lost three consecutive games since the start of the season, when they dropped three straight on October 7, 9, and 13. The Kings have scored just one goal in their past two games, both losses; the Blues have scored just three in regulation in their last two games, both wins.

THE LAST TIME AROUND: The Kings have split their previous two meetings with the Blues this season, but have earned points in each contest. The Kings beat the Blues 3-0 on November 3 at St. Louis, they lost 2-1 in a shootout on January 9 at STAPLES Center. Tanner Pearson (1G, 1A) and Jeff Carter (1G, 1A) lead all Kings players in points scored (2) against the Blues this season. Jhonas Enroth pitched a 24-save shutout in the teams’ first meeting, Jonathan Quick stopped 15 of 16 shots faced in the previous matchup.

IT WON’T COME EASY: After tonight, the Kings will have faced the NHL’s top-three defenses in consecutive games. The Blues (2.29 GAA) are second to Washington (2.27 GAA) and New Jersey (2.24) in that department. The Kings scored only one combined goal against the Devils and Capitals. “Jersey’s more of a defend-in-their-own-zone, that sort of thing, where Washington, both teams check really well. The skill stands out, but the systems stand out, too. It’s tells you good teams.”

HOT AT HOME: In the 2016 calendar year, the Blues have been phenomenal on home ice, earning points in eight of nine games played at Scottrade Center (6-1-2). The Kings have gone 2-2-0 in St. Louis since the start of the 2014-’15 season; they allowed the Blues to score five goals in each of those losses.

WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch the ‘Kings Live’ pregame show at 4:30 PM PST on Fox Sports West, followed with Nick Nickson and Jim Fox on the live play-by-play call from the Scottrade Center for puck drop just after 5:00. As always, you can listen to Jon Rosen and Daryl Evans call the action over the radio airwaves on AM 790 KABC.

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