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Blues, Kings clash for first time since playoffs

by Brian Compton

BLUES (18-4-3) at KINGS (16-7-4)


Last 10: St. Louis 7-2-1; Los Angeles 5-1-4

Season series: This is the first of three games between the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings. They will play twice in a two-week span in January.

Big story: Monday night marks the first time the Blues and Kings will face each other since the opening round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Los Angeles eliminated St. Louis in six games, winning four straight after the Blues raced out to a 2-0 series lead. Each of the six games was decided by one goal.

Team Scope:

Blues: St. Louis saw its five-game winning streak come to an end Friday when it suffered a 6-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center. Jaden Schwartz had a goal and an assist for the Blues, but goalie Brian Elliott was pulled after allowing four goals on 12 shots.

It was only the second time in November the Blues had allowed three goals or more in a game.

"Tough to say what happened, one way or the other," defenseman Ian Cole told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sunday. "But it's obviously not acceptable, regardless of what time of day it is or what holiday it was the day before.

"It's not acceptable to come out with the start we did and we know we can't play that way against LA."

Kings: Los Angeles was moments away from extending its point streak to 12 games Saturday night, but Mike Cammalleri broke a 1-1 tie with 29.2 seconds remaining in regulation to lift the Calgary Flames to a 2-1 victory at Staples Center. The Kings had gone 7-0-4 in their previous 11 games.

"I think Scrivs [goalie Ben Scrivens] said it best … park it and move on," defenseman Willie Mitchell told LA Kings Insider on Sunday. "As [Kings coach] Darryl [Sutter] says, park and ride, right? He said it best. We've done that since he's been here with games we've won, and I think you've got to do that with games you lose. You're always consciously aware of what you did well and what you didn't, but you've got to prepare for your next opponent, and everyone knows how much respect we have for that team. It's a great team. Good depth, four great lines, good mix of experience, heavy, great team. That's what I mean … we're looking forward to St. Louis."

Who's hot: Schwartz extended his point streak to six games Friday. He has three goals and four assists in that span. Blues forward Alexander Steen had an assist against the Sharks. He has three goals and two assists during a four-game point streak. … Kings center Anze Kopitar has five points (two goals, three assists) in the past six games.

Injury report: St. Louis forward Ryan Reaves (hand) had surgery and will be re-evaluated in six weeks. Defenseman Jordan Leopold (hand) is on injured reserve. … Los Angeles will be without goalie Jonathan Quick (groin), forwards Matt Frattin (lower body) and Trevor Lewis (lower body), and defenseman Matt Greene (upper body).

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