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Kings continue road trip in St. Louis

by Brian Hunter /
KINGS (17-10-1) at BLUES (14-10-5)


Last 10: Los Angeles 5-4-1; St. Louis 3-5-2

Season series: First of four meetings this season. After Los Angeles won the opening matchup on the 2009-10 slate, St. Louis took the next three. TJ Oshie had the decisive goal in their most recent game, a 3-1 win for the Blues on March 25 at Scottrade Center.

Big story: The Kings will have to be a strong road team in order to solidify their playoff positioning over the final two-thirds of the season. They have a mammoth 10-game trip awaiting them in February. Right now they're on a five-game swing, which started out in tremendous fashion as Jonathan Quick faced 51 stops and stopped them all in a 5-0 win in Detroit on Monday.

Team Scope:

Kings: Quick has been brilliant over his last five starts, going 4-0-1 with a .948 save percentage. The lone blemish came Saturday against Minnesota, when he made a pair of puck-handling errors in a 3-2 overtime loss. But Quick redeemed himself and then some against Detroit, stopping 38 shots over the first two periods, while Anze Kopitar spearheaded the offensive effort with a pair of goals 2:36 apart early in the third, doubling what to that point had been a 2-0 lead.

"I don't think I've ever been a part of a game where a goalie stood on his head like that," defenseman Drew Doughty said. "It was unbelievable. If we didn't have him back there, I don't think we would have won tonight."

Blues: When Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom opened the scoring early in the second period Wednesday night, St. Louis blueliner Carlo Colaiacovo quickly answered, netting the tying goal 78 seconds later. Unfortunately for the Blues, the ageless Lidstrom was far from finished. He scored twice more in the third for his first career hat trick and the last one, into an empty net, sealed the Blues' 5-2 loss.

"He's a great player. He shows it every season," said goalie Jaroslav Halak said, who made 32 saves. "If he's not the best, he's one of the best defensemen in the League."

Who's hot: Kopitar has 5 goals and 2 assists during a five-game points streak for the Kings. Dustin Brown has 1 goal and 6 assists during a five-game points streak. … Alexander Steen has 3 goals and 2 assists during a four-game points streak for the Blues.

Injury report: Los Angeles forward Marco Sturm, recently acquired in a trade with Boston, is targeting next week for his season debut. Sturm has been on injured reserve following offseason knee surgery. Defenseman Matt Greene left Monday's game with an upper-body injury and is day-to-day. Forwards Scott Parse (hip) and Brad Richardson (upper body) are on injured reserve.

St. Louis defenseman Erik Johnson and forward Vladimir Sobotka both left Wednesday's game. Johnson got tangled up with the Red Wings' Pavel Datsyuk in the first period, while Sobotka took a Darren Helm shot off his leg in the third. Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo missed the game with an upper-body injury. Forward Andy McDonald is out indefinitely with concussion-like symptoms. Oshie (ankle), fellow forward David Perron (concussion) and defenseman Roman Polak (wrist) are on injured reserve.

Stat pack: Doughty compiled 3 assists against the Red Wings, tying a career high and snapping a 10-game stretch without a point. … Blues forward Alex Steen was one of three players to record six shots on goal Saturday night.

Puck drop: Rumors had been flying for weeks that Boston might unload Sturm due to salary-cap restrictions, and although a trade was agreed upon Saturday it took until Tuesday -- after Sturm passed a series of medical and on-ice tests -- to become official.

"It was not easy," Sturm said. "It was always kind of up and down, but I knew that eventually it was going to get done. It was just the waiting part that's been tough. Even the last two days, I've been (with the Kings), they had to do a lot of testing, so it's been not easy, but I'm glad now that everything is over and I can focus on hockey again."

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