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Kings aim to even series with Blues

by Brian Compton


(St. Louis leads best-of-7 series, 2-1)


Big story: The defending Stanley Cup champions are back in business after Saturday’s 1-0 win against the St. Louis Blues at Staples Center. Should the Los Angeles Kings be able to earn another victory on home ice Monday, the series suddenly becomes a best-of-3.

Team Scope:

Blues: While St. Louis enters Monday’s action in possession of a 2-1 series lead, Ken Hitchcock’s club knows it needs to produce more offensively. The Blues were shut out by Jonathan Quick on Saturday and have scored four goals through the first three games of this Western Conference Quarterfinal.

"With an aggressive goalie like him, one thing we've got to do is get in front of him just to keep him in the crease, but I think we're doing a pretty good job of that," Blues forward T.J. Oshie said. "I think more so, we're over-attacking on our net-drives at times to where we're beating their d-men to the net, but the rebounds are kicking out behind us. With a goalie that comes out so far, the rebounds aren't laying around in the crease. They're laying around on the hash marks.

"We had plenty of chances on rebounds for goals [Saturday] night. I think it just comes down to burying them. I think if we pop one there, it's a little different story. We had a couple roll off guys' sticks, a couple bounce on us. I think we're doing a great job getting to the net. We're getting a lot of shots there. A little more traffic maybe, but I think more so just smarter net-drives."

Kings: After two incredibly tough losses in St. Louis, the Kings returned home and rode some tremendous goaltending from 2012 Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick en route to a 1-0 victory in Game 3.

Quick finished with 30 saves and Slava Voynov scored the lone goal for Los Angeles, which knows it can’t return to Scottrade Center for Game 5 with a 3-1 deficit.

“Obviously it's the first of four, but this is a game that we needed to have -- and Game 4 is going to be the same,” Kings forward Justin Williams said. “We don't want to be going back there down 3-1. We want to put a little bit of pressure on them, win a game, see what happens."

Who's hot: Brian Elliott has turned aside 76 of 79 shots in this series for St. Louis, while Quick has stopped 93 of 97 shots for Los Angeles.

Injury report: St. Louis forward Jamie Langenbrunner is skating again but has been ruled out for the first round. Langenbrunner had hip surgery in February that was expected to sideline him the remainder of the season. … Los Angeles defenseman Matt Greene has been scratched from each of the first three games with an undisclosed injury.

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