GAME: St. Louis Blues (20-33-11) at Los Angeles Kings (36-27-5).
TIME: Thursday, 10:30 p.m. EST.
Trying to secure one of the last playoff spots in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Kings look to end a three-game losing streak as they face a team with no postseason hopes when they host the St. Louis Blues.
Los Angeles has been outscored 14-6 in its last three games after winning six of seven.
If the Kings end that skid, they will sweep a season series with the Blues for the first time in franchise history. The only time in 37 previous seasons Los Angeles did not lose at least once to St. Louis was in 1974-75, winning three meetings and tying one. The Blues had won six straight against the Kings before this season.
Los Angeles enters the fourth and final meeting with St. Louis this season very much in the hunt for a postseason berth. The Kings are among a group of five teams - separated by a total of five points - fighting for one of the final three spots in the West.
Sean Avery's short-handed goal midway through the third period accounted for Los Angeles' offense in Thursday night's 4-1 loss to the Pacific Division-leading Dallas Stars. The loss left the Kings 14 points behind the Stars.
Mathieu Garon, who gave up three goals on the first five shots he faced in Tuesday night's 6-2 loss against Phoenix, allowed four goals on 23 shots over the first 40 minutes Thursday. Jason LaBarbera played the third period and stopped four shots.
"The goals came easy to them, and that is frustrating," Kings coach Andy Murray said. "You like to make it more difficult on your opponents. We need to simplify our game with the lineup we have right now and be grittier and a little tougher to play against."
St. Louis is at the bottom of the conference, but had picked up points in four consecutive games (2-0-2) before losing 5-2 to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night.
Trent Whitfield scored his first goal of the season to give St. Louis a 2-1 lead just under four minutes into the second period, but Patrick Lalime allowed four unanswered goals and fell to 4-12-6 for the season.
Lalime, the Blues' No. 1 goalie due to a recent season-ending knee injury to Curtis Sanford, has not finished any of his six previous NHL seasons with a losing record.
Scott Young scored for the second straight game Thursday to reach 15 goals for the season, tying Dean McAmmond for the team lead.
STANDINGS: Blues - 51 points, 4th place (tied), 44 PB, Central Division. Kings - 77 points, 2nd place, 14 PB, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Blues - McAmmond and Young, 15 goals; Petr Cajanek, 29 assists; Young, 43 points; Barret Jackman, 135 PIM. Kings - Mark Parrish, 25 goals; Lubomir Visnovsky, 43 assists and 60 points; Avery, 229 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Blues - Power play: 15.9 percent (65 for 408), 23rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.2 percent (305 for 371), 17th. Kings - Power play: 15.0 percent (67 for 447), 26th. Penalty killing: 78.4 percent (323 for 412), 28th.
GOALTENDERS: Blues - Lalime (4-12-6, 0 SO, 3.67 GAA); Reinhard Divis (0-3-0, 4.75). Kings - Garon (27-19-3, 2, 3.13); LaBarbera (9-8-2, 3.25).
SEASON SERIES: Kings, 3-0.
LAST MEETING: March 11; Kings, 2-1 (SO). At St. Louis, Luc Robitaille scored the only goal in the shootout and Garon made 31 saves.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blues - 9-18-6 on the road; Kings - 21-11-1 at home.