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Kings defeat Blues to end road losing streak

by Louie Korac

ST. LOUIS -- The Los Angeles Kings persevered in a tough building to snap a lengthy road losing skid.

Third-line right wing Trevor Lewis had a large role in the outcome.

Lewis scored his first two goals of the season 2:17 apart in the third period to snap a tie, and the Kings went on to end a five-game road losing streak with a 4-1 victory against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday at Scottrade Center.

"I really had to work for that first one, but I got it, so it feels good and it's a big win," said Lewis, whose prior goal came March 28 against the Blues. "It felt good. It's been a while."

Jake Muzzin and Jeff Carter also scored for the Kings (29-14-5), whose most-recent win away from Staples Center was Dec. 14 against the Ottawa Senators. Jonathan Quick had 28 saves to pick up his fourth win in six games since coming back from a groin injury (4-1-1).

"It's good to start out on a great foot," Quick said. "I think the biggest thing is you get a win in regulation against a conference opponent. They are a little ahead in the standings, so I guess it's good to tighten that gap a little bit.

"It's another game obviously. We have developed a little bit of a rivalry over the last couple years, but at the end of the day, it counts as two points. You don't get extra points because it's St. Louis."

Including the past two Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Kings have won 16 of 20 games against the Blues, including two of three this season.

"Tough rink, tough building," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "It always has been and always will be. ... They're extremely well-coached. They've got a [heck] of a hockey team."

T.J. Oshie's first career penalty shot goal got the Blues (32-9-5) even in the game, and Jaroslav Halak stopped 27 shots in the 3,600th game in franchise history. The loss ended a five-game home winning streak.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock lamented his team's compete level against an elite opponent. The Blues were 10-1-1 in their previous 12 games, outscoring their opponents 47-19. They allowed more than two goals for the first time in nine games.

"Their best players came to play big," Hitchcock said of the Kings. "Their best players were the best players on the ice. Their top players had to play [Thursday] from the goalie out. Their top defensemen had to play, their forwards had to play, and they did. They came up big.

"It was a big game, it was a game that meant quite a bit. Both teams were full, their goalie was back. Their best players were their best players and that's what was the difference in the hockey game. They rose to the occasion. We didn't. ... I'm kind of getting sick of watching it. If we're going to figure this out, we're going to have to get more people coming up a lot bigger."

Lewis broke a 1-1 tie when he fired a shot at Halak, who kicked out the puck, which caromed off Jaden Schwartz's skate and into the net with Dwight King in front 2:04 into the third period. The goal initially was given to King, and the play was never reviewed to see whose skate the puck hit. Officials determined no matter whose skate it was, the puck was not distinctly directed.

"It went off me," Schwartz said. "I just tried taking the guy to the net; off [Halak's] pads and off my skate. It's a pretty [bad] bounce. ... I just tried tying [King] up. I didn't even see the puck until it hit me.

"It was bad timing. It's a 1-1 game. Tough bounce. Stuff like that happens and you've got to try and respond in the right way. We didn't do a good job of that and we couldn't get another goal."

Later, with the Blues on a power play, Halak went into the left corner to play the puck, but it hopped over his stick into the restricted area. He let the puck go; Lewis pounced and wrapped a shot into the empty side for a shorthanded goal at 4:21.

"Unfortunately for me the puck stayed on the boards and I just couldn't pick it off the board," Halak said. "You know, the trapezoid, I didn't want to play the puck. I think I should have, I guess. I made a mistake at the worst possible time, when the game was on the line for us.

"I'll take the blame for this one. It's unacceptable to make a mistake like that, especially in the third period."

Lewis said, "I knew that [Halak] was right next to the goal line, so I knew if it got any sort of hop, he couldn't play it. So I was just going after him. Luckily it did get a little hop and I got a good wraparound."

Muzzin's third goal of the season at 2:31 of the first period put L.A. on top 1-0. The Kings were able to hunt a puck off the right boards, and Colin Fraser fed Muzzin. His shot from the top of the slot beat Halak, who appeared to be screened by a pair of players skating through the slot.

Oshie blocked Muzzin's wrist shot from the left point in the second period and was off to the races. Muzzin pulled down Oshie as he was going in alone on Quick, creating a penalty shot. Oshie beat Quick five-hole at 5:55 to tie it 1-1. It was Oshie's ninth point (five goals) in the past six home games, and the Blues' fourth straight penalty-shot goal dating to the 2011-12 season.

The Blues have a penalty-shot goal from Alexander Steen in the second game of the season, Oct. 5 against the Florida Panthers.

Carter's empty-net goal with 55.5 seconds remaining sealed the win for the Kings, who lost here 5-0 on Jan. 2, without Quick.

"He's the No. 1 goalie," Sutter said. "He gives you stability. He made some big saves in the third period and did a good job tonight."

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