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Kings take momentum to St. Louis

by Matthew Mankiewich
KINGS (42-24-6) at BLUES (34-30-9)

Last 10 -- Los Angeles 4-4-2, St. Louis 5-5-0.

Season Series -- As has been so typical of the Blues' season, they've won both road games in Los Angeles while the Kings prevailed in the lone meeting in St. Louis.

Big Story -- St. Louis likely saw its playoff hopes come to an end on Wednesday night, when it suffered a gut-wrenching, 4-2 loss at Detroit. The Blues are now 10 points out of a playoff spot with nine games remaining in the regular season.

Team Scope:

Kings -- While the Red Wings are pulling away from the pack in the bottom half of the Western Conference, there's still some sorting to do within the top eight. Only two points separated the fifth-seeded Kings and sixth-place Predators from the Wings and Avalanche, and the Kings had to keep the Avs at bay twice in 48 hours.

They were able to do it on Monday with a hard-fought 4-3 overtime win at the Staples Center, then forced overtime in Denver with third-period goals from Drew Doughty and Alexander Frolov. But Chris Stewart proved the difference in the shootout, giving the Avs a 4-3 win and cutting the Kings' margin to a single point.

Blues -- When the games dwindle down to a precious few and the available points go with them, a four-point swing is an opportunity not to be missed. Particularly when the Blues had won four of the previous five matchups with the Red Wings.

They could have closed within six points with a win Wednesday. Valtteri Filppula had other ideas, scoring the winning goal and an empty-netter at Joe Louis Arena.

"I thought we outplayed them for a good part of the game, especially in the third period," goalie Ty Conklin said. Conklin stopped 20 shots in a game that hinged on just a few plays in front of the net.

Who's Hot -- Jarret Stoll and Doughty both have four points in the three games against the Blues so far. Stoll also has three assists in the two Colorado games.

Injury Report -- Kings defenseman Matt Greene (upper body) missed Wednesday's game and is considered day to day. Davis Drewiske, a healthy scratch from the previous 11 games, replaced Greene. The Kings also inserted Peter Harrold into the lineup in place of Rich Clune on the fourth line. ... Blues defenseman Roman Polak (shoulder) missed his second straight game Wednesday and is still questionable.

Stat Pack -- Milan Hejduk's power-play goal with 6:39 left in the first period ended a streak of 29 straight penalty kills by the Kings. A win by the Kings would give them a winning record against the Blues for a second straight season. Paul Kariya's 17 goals are one more than he had two years ago with the Blues and 15 more than he had in an injury-plagued 2008-09 season.

Puck Drop -- "It's one of those games where if it were early in the year, you would feel good about the process and know that if you play that way, more times than not you're going to win. But this time of year it's about two points. Moral victories don't get you in the playoffs." -- Blues forward David Backes on Wednesday's loss to the Red Wings
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