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Kings hope to pull even with Blues in Game 2

by Brian Hunter


(St. Louis leads best-of-7 series, 1-0)


Big story: If the Los Angeles Kings needed any reminder that it's not 2012 anymore, the St. Louis Blues served it to them with Tuesday’s 2-1 overtime win to open their Western Conference quarterfinal. Alex Steen's second goal of the game, which came shorthanded at 13:26 of the first extra period, was the end result of a puck-handling mistake by goalie Jonathan Quick and marked the Blues' first win against the Kings in nine games, dating to the 2011-12 regular season. The Kings swept the Blues in the second round of last year's Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Team Scope:

Kings: The defending Stanley Cup champions now encounter a scenario the 2012 team never had to face: a series deficit. Los Angeles led each of the four rounds 3-0 last spring en route to winning the title. The Kings did show some of last year's pluck in Game 1 when Justin Williams scored with 31.6 seconds left in regulation and Quick pulled for an extra attacker to tie the score.

They seemed to continue that momentum into overtime and had a golden opportunity when Dustin Penner drew a double high-sticking minor, but Quick gave the puck away behind his own net to undo what to that point had been a brilliant 40-save performance.

"He was outstanding," coach Darryl Sutter said of Quick. "I thought he played a great game. Kind of ironic the two best players on the ice were in on the goal."

Blues: The calendar has flipped to the month of May and St. Louis can only hope Brian Elliott continues to be close to as good as he was in April. Elliott carried his sparkling play from the end of the regular season into the series opener for the Blues, making 28 saves and just missing the first shutout of his playoff career.

Steen, who had one goal in 13 career postseason games prior to Tuesday, was a star on special teams. He opened the scoring 9:05 into the first period with a power-play goal, capitalizing on the rebound of a Kevin Shattenkirk shot. Several hours later, he was in the right place at the right time when he stole the puck from Quick behind the net and wrapped it around into an empty cage to send Scottrade Center into bedlam.

"It's a big start," Steen said. "I thought we came out with a lot of jump and played a solid three periods. Unfortunate goal to send it into overtime. I think we did a good job of regrouping in here because both teams kind of sat back a little bit in OT. It's a big win for us. Now we regroup [Wednesday] and go back at them in Game 2."

Who's hot: Kings defenseman Drew Doughty assisted on the tying goal with a great pass to set up Williams, skated a game-high 31:38 in Game 1 and dished out four hits. … Steen's two goals Tuesday were a quarter of what he scored in 40 regular season games for the Blues. Elliott allowed one goal or fewer in 10 of his 13 April starts. Jaden Schwartz, who scored twice in the regular season finale, had a game-high six shots in his postseason debut.

Injury report: Los Angeles defenseman Matt Greene (undisclosed) missed Game 1 and is day-to-day. … St. Louis forward T.J. Oshie (ankle) returned to the lineup for the series opener and saw 18:01 of ice time.

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