KINGS (2-1-0) at BLUES (2-1-0)
Season series -- First of four meetings this season. St. Louis was the playoff team last season, but Los Angeles had the upper hand in the season series, winning three of four games and outscoring its opponent by a 15-7 margin. The Blues did win the final game by a 2-0 final during their late surge up the Western Conference standings.
Big Story -- This is take two for the Blues, who looked like world-beaters in sweeping their two games from the Red Wings in the 2009 Compuware NHL Premiere in Stockholm. Then they returned home with a clunker against the Thrashers. The Kings, meanwhile, begin a six-game road trip by seeking their third straight win after a season-opening loss to the Coyotes.
Kings -- You don't make too much over one game, and Los Angeles quickly recovered from a 6-3 loss to Phoenix to begin its season. Victories against San Jose and Minnesota followed, and now the Kings get to test their mettle by playing away from the Staples Center for the next 10 days.
"We are getting out on the road for the first time bringing everyone together," coach Terry Murray said. "Just getting to know each other and the new guys, getting to know them by hanging out and doing things on the road. I feel when you play on the road early in the season it helps to solidify things a little faster. You know you are playing in enemy territory, the advantage/disadvantages of being the visiting team is pretty clear in this business.
"You have to be ready to go every night, bring your 'A' game every shift, and it’s a good challenge for us."
Blues -- Overshadowed by the four points they brought home from Stockholm was the fact St. Louis actually had to come back from two-goal deficits in both victories against Detroit. Playing from behind finally caught up with them against Atlanta, which grabbed a 3-1 lead and held on for a 4-2 win. It was a disappointing homecoming in front of a Scottrade Center crowd getting its first look at the Blues since last season's playoff ouster at the hands of Vancouver. More will be expected on Saturday.
"I don't think any of us are happy with how we played," Blues goalie Chris Mason told the Belleville News-Democrat. "That's not our style of hockey, we all know that and there's no excuse for it.
"We said all the right things before the game, but it's one thing saying them and another thing doing them. I don't think we were ready to play."
Who's Hot -- The Kings' top line of Anze Kopitar, Ryan Smyth and Justin Williams is smoking. In three games, Kopitar has three goals and eight points, Smyth has three goals and six points and Williams has one goal and four points. They're also a combined plus-six.
Keith Tkachuk is listed as 37, but he's started the season playing like a man nearly half his age. Tkachuk has three goals and six points in the Blues' first three games.
Injury Report -- St. Louis defensemen Barret Jackman has been placed on injured reserve with a sprained ankle. Defenseman Eric Brewer continues to recover from back surgery. Forward D.J. King was assigned to Peoria of the AHL as he rehabs from a dislocated thumb.
Los Angeles has no notable injuries to report.
Puck Drop -- Acquired in an offseason trade with Colorado, the value of a veteran like Smyth can't be understated, according to his coach: "It takes a couple of veterans like Ryan Smyth to set the example," Murray said. "It's only three games in, but you can see some of the stuff he brings. The younger guys are watching and doing the same."
-- Brian Hunter, NHL.com